People N Patrons

A California Librarian Tells Her Last Story

Helen Riley, 77, is ready to retire from the Barstow Branch Library after many long and happy years of telling stories to children there.

She traveled hundreds of miles a week in the county library's bookmobile in the 1970s, traveling to places near and far, from Riverside Drive to a prison near Boron.
"We took the library to the people," Riley said.

Although Riley's head is filled with memories of her library career, she said she's ready to retire. Instead of reading books, she said she might go back to writing books, something she did before becoming a library worker.

This article in the Desert Dispatch gives us more on her background, and she also shares some of her best tips to get kids reading.

Oakland Library To Honor Nation's First All-Black Union

Shortly after the Civil War, many freed slaves and sons of slaves worked their way to the West, to find work in an industry dominated by African-Americans, as Pullman Porters. It's a history of discrimination and embittermint, but also pride at becoming self-supporting. Porters worked long hours for little pay, and many spent half their wages on food, lodging and uniforms. Still, a third became homeowners and helped grow a black middle class.

"We have to honor local history, and we've been working on this since July," said Christine Saed, senior librarian of the West Oakland Branch Library. "The porters and the railroad are a very important part of the black community that first came to Oakland from the south."

Larry Tye, author of "Rising From the Rails: Pullman Porters and the Making of the Black Middle Class" will speak about his book, and retired porters will offer stories and reflections. Members of the Oakland Heritage Alliance will conduct a tour from the library to a renovated railroad station nearby, and entertainment will include jazz, blues, country and gospel music.

Alameda Times-Star.

Bob Dylan Autobiography Due This Fall

The brilliant and talented author/composer of "A Hard Rain's A Gonna Fall", "Blowin' in the Wind", "Masters of War" and many other wonderful songs has written his memoirs, and it will be published (after a two year delay) this October by Simon & Schuster.

The initial volume, entitled "Chronicles" will be followed by at least one other volume consisting entirely of his song lyrics.

A few different versions of the story here: BBC-UK; Guardian UK ; NY Daily News -- each with different photos of Dylan.

El Paso, TX Library has Ghosts, According to Staffers

The discovery of a possible Civil War-era skeleton buried next to the main branch of the El Paso Public Library on Thursday was not a surprise, library employees said Friday.

"We figured that's why we have our ghosts," said staffer Charles Apuan while walking down a shadowy row of bookshelves in a sub-basement that is said to be the epicenter of eerie phenomena at the library, 501 N. Oregon.

Several members of the library staff have reported apparitions, strange noises and items moving by themselves.

Workers excavating a site behind the library Thursday discovered a skeleton, thought to be a soldier because in the 1860s the land was a military cemetery, which was later relocated. Skeletal remains were also found in the neighborhood in 1998 by crews replacing water and sewer lines. Library staffers expect other remains to be found as construction continues. Read all about it.

Reporter Tries Homelessness

Those of you who work in public libraries know that homelessness is a library story. This narrative from the Middletown (CT) Press is part of a series written by a reporter who is trying to understand what it's like to be homeless.

If I just wait for this to end, I don’t know what’s going to happen. The reality of this has finally set in. I’m homeless, I have no one to count on, and after holding on to that cheeseburger all night, I really had to go to the bathroom and an alleyway just won’t cut it.

I remember scoping out the library bathroom, when I stopped in yesterday, but it didn’t open until 9 a.m. and I still had hours to kill.

I was glad to find this piece, and hope to keep some of the descriptions in my head, as the library where I work is a haven for homeless people, many of them just killing time like this reporter.

Great Plains Poet Next U.S. Laureate

Great Plains poet Ted Kooser of Nebraska will be the next poet laureate of the United States.

Librarian of Congress James H. Billington planned to officially announce the appointment today.

"Ted Kooser is a major poetic voice for rural and small town America and the first poet laureate chosen from the Great Plains," Billington said. "His verse reaches beyond his native region to touch on universal themes in accessible ways."

Kooser, 65, replaces Pulitzer Prize winner Louise Gluck in the eight-month position. Read all about it.

Suicidal Librarian, Chain-Smoking Slob Discover Life's Elusive Symmetries

From the Village Voice...
"Life or death; which one has the nastier sense of humor? A couple of the characters in Pen-ek Ratanaruang's Last Life in the Universe may be starting to wonder. A shy Japanese librarian in Bangkok, Kenji (Tadanobu Asano of Zatoichi) has a chronically interrupted suicide wish. He's unsuccessfully acquainted with the noose, the smothering pillow, even the gun secreted inside a teddy bear. The film unfolds as a serene experiment in dissonance: long snatches of boy-girl quiescence occasionally broken by snarling bursts of gangster mayhem." Read More.

Suit over library cat's attack bites back at disabled dog owner

Gary Price points out Rik, Kimba, and L.C. are making headlines again. This Time Rik, who had unsuccessfully sued the city of Escondido after his assistance dog was attacked by a cat that lived in the public library will have to pay the city nearly $30,000 in attorney's fees.

Yesterday, Judge Yuri Hofmann ordered Espinosa to pay $29,362.50 to Escondido to cover costs the city incurred by fighting what it contended was a "frivolous" lawsuit.

History That's Right Off the Shelf

An Anonymous Patron writes "I hate to point to a LATimes Story, but this one on Willie McPherson is pretty interesting. He died 40 years ago when he was 79 and left behind more than 2,000 photos he took throughout CA and the Southwest during the first half of the 20th century. The photo collection, after passing through the hands of two parties, landed at the Orange library this year and has become a featured piece of its burgeoning regional history center.
The library's growing history collection is helping propel expansion of the main library that will result in a tripling of space, including a history room and reading tower. The new facility will be renamed the Orange Library and History Center. Groundbreaking on the expansion is set for January, with completion projected for September 2006.

Site requires registration, and enduring not just one, but at least 2 huge popup ads, sorry."

Accused library arsonist could see trial date set in Friday meeting

Following up on a story from last year, The 19-year-old man charged with setting fire to the second floor of the University's (of GA) Main Library last summer will be in court Friday for a calendar call. If a trial date is set Friday, it could be either Aug. 2, Aug. 23 or Aug. 30, according to the Athens-Clarke County Clerk's Office.

Chris Anderson, a former ACC assistant district attorney who was prosecuting the case, previously told The Red & Black he thought that an ex parte order filed in April by the defense may have called for a mental evaluation of Nelms, but he said he was not certain.


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