August 2008


In the 1964 movie, “The Best Man,” the former Democratic President says to the crowd:  “Someday we’re going to have a Negro president.  After that we’re going to do something for that other minority and elect a woman.”   Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.  (The more things change, the more they stay the same.)


Considering that this nation is 232 years old, there are relatively few movies that have been made that deal with elections.  Increasingly, election campaigns have become endurance tests, with the result that the general electorate is exhausted by the whole process well before Election Day. 


If you want to take a break from the Democratic and Republican conventions, there are a number of good films available in DVD format, dealing with elections and politics that are available through your Alameda County Library.   Many of them deal with negative ads, candidates cheating on their spouses, political corruption, and the difficulty candidates have in trying to appear hip and in touch with the electorate.


Advise & Consent (1962) – Henry Fonda plays the newly nominated Secretary of State, who undergoes an investigation to determine if he is qualified for the post.  Leading the Senate investigating committee is an idealistic senator from Utah, played by Don Murray.  Both men have skeletons in their closet that could hurt their political careers.


All the King’s Men (1949) – based on a Pulitzer Prize – winning novel evoking Huey P. Long, Lousiana’s Democratic governor in the 1930s, who was assassinated in 1935.  Oscars for Best Picture and for performances by Broderick Crawford and Mercedes McCambridge.


Bulworth (1998) – Warren Beatty stars as a California senator, who takes out a $10 million life insurance policy and a contract on his own life.  Knowing he has only a short time to live, Bulworth speaks whatever is on his mind, no matter how offensive. 


Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) – Jimmy Stewart, the naïve head of the Boy Rangers is chosen by the Montana state political machine to replace a senator who dies in office.  Stewart is expected to take orders and not oppose construction of a dam that will make the fat cats richer still.  But Stewart wants to build a boys’ camp on the land where the dam is to be built, and makes a dramatic filibuster to make his case. 


Primary Colors (1998) – John Travolta plays Governor Jack Stanton of a Southern state, who is now running for President.  The original novel was clearly based on Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign. 


Speechless (1994) – Michael Keaton and Geena Davis play speechwriters for rival candidates in a senatorial campaign in New Mexico.   Their movie romance clearly resembles the relationship between married couple Mary Matalin and James Carville, where opposing politics didn’t prevent romantic attraction. 

 Today is the first day of school! We know it takes awhile to get back in the swing of things but just want to remind everyone of some of the help available from your library.  Dublin will start its popular after school Homework Help service on September 29th.  Students in grades 3 to 8 can drop in between 3:30 and 5:30 and get help from a high school volunteer. 

Meanwhile, don’t forget about the Live Homework Help service from the Library’s website.  Click on the link, enter your grade level and subject and a trained, professional tutor will work with you in an online, chat environment to help you.  Live Homework Help has recently expanded its service to include kindergarten through 3rd grade AND adult learners.   Now students from 8 to 85 can connect with a tutor for one-on-one help. 

The adult learner section will help those earning their GED, taking adult education courses, or working on a job resume.  Adult courses include writing, algebra, calculus, geometry, biology, chemistry, physics and social studies.

Live Homework Help is available daily from 1:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m.

I have found that some of the most interesting books I have read are often those that were recommended to me by friends or co-workers.  I recently asked my co-workers at Dublin Library what books they were reading currently and here is what they replied:


Pam Blades –   I am currently reading (listening to) the compact disc book, “The Price of Murder” by Bruce Alexander. It’s a little like a Sherlock Holmes novel with the main character Sir John Fielding who is a blind magistrate. There are some great characters and descriptions of old London.


I myself recently read “Epitaph for a Peach : Four Seasons on My Family Farm” by David Mas Masumuto.  David gives his readers an intimate portrait of several generations of his family and a good idea of what effort, stubbornness, and often good luck go into running a family farm producing peaches and grapes in the southern San Joaquin Valley.  Once you’ve read this book, you’ll never go by a small farm again without wondering just who lives on the farm and how long these people have lived there. 


Another book I read recently provided great armchair travel to our 50th state and travel back in time, as well.  “Moloka’i” by Alan Brennert was clearly a labor of love, showing the author’s fascination with Hawaii.  The novel is the story of Rachel, a young girl who is diagnosed with Hansen’s disease, then known as leprosy.  Rachel grows up in Honolulu during the last days of the Hawaiian monarchy, and is shipped off to live the rest of her life at Kalawao, on the eastern side of the Kalaupapa Peninsula on the island of Molokai.  Even in this “living grave”, Rachel and other patients make friendships, fall in love, marry, and even bear children – before having their children removed forcibly and put up for adoption lest they contract leprosy.  Some of the luckier patients, such as the fictional Rachel, had the effects of the disease halted through the use of sulfate drugs, discovered around the time of World War II, and were able to be released and allowed to settle elsewhere in Hawaii, often only to face prejudice from uninformed family and friends.  I was particularly impressed by the author’s descriptions of the rather sleepy island capital that was Honolulu of the 1890s contrasted with the urban, fast-paced Honolulu of 1946, and what a shock it would have been to a person who had not seen the changes happen gradually. 



Are you a teen looking for volunteer opportunities? The library has several ways you can contribute.

Serve as Homework Helpers in our Homework Center.   We’re looking for friendly enthusiastic high school students who can help children in grades 3-8 finish their school assignments.  Helpers are needed for 2 hours a week, 1 day a week from 3:30-5:30 for 10 weeks. An orientation meeting for those interested will be held on September 26 at 4 p.m.

Do Computer Tutoring.  Use your computer skills to teach adults how to improve their competency with the internet and computers.  Teens must be entering 10th grade or higher and be willing to tutor 1-2 hours a week for 10 weeks. Teens will receive training and be matched one on one with interested adults.  An orientation meeting will be held September, 29 at 4 p.m.

Join our Teen Advisory Group and have a say in your library.  We meet once a month on Saturdays from 11- 12 noon.  Help make the library more “teen friendly”.  Review & recommend books, magazines, music and movies.  Suggest & plan programs & projects.  Our next meeting is August 30th.

All of these opportunities are a great way to earn community service hours for school or college applications.

If you have questions or need more detailed information, contact Donna Leach (925) 803-7272 or

Anyone who has visited the Library in the past couple of days, knows that we have been dealing with a significant system failure with our computer network.  Library Information Technology staff have been working around the clock to solve the problem and continue working on it today. In the past couple of days,  public Internet stations have been very glitchy logging in; on some stations you can log in without a problem; on others you can’t log in at all. The wireless network has been down. Your library card record may not necessarily reflect an accurate account of what you have checked out, returned, or on hold.  Customers are reporting many problems accessing Overdrive e-books and e-audiobooks.  At Dublin, we have not been to do any check ins for the past couple of days; we are working in overdrive to catch up today as the system recovers. 

If your library card record is not accurate, give the system a few days to catch up on holds placed, checked in items, etc.  Feel free to email either the Library Branch Manager, Lee Jouthas ( or Dublin’s Circulation Supervisor, Brian Edwards, ( and we will do our best to help you untangle any issues. 

At this time our public internet stations and wireless network *should* be working normally.  As always if you encounter problems please let us know at the Reference Desk or call us at 803-7275. 

We certainly apologize for any inconvenience these computer problems have caused you and want you to know that we are all working hard at every level to get things back to normal.

The Library is recruiting for someone to oversee the Homework Help program for the 2008-09 school year.  This is a grant funded, part-time position that pays $15 per hour.  The hours are from 3:00 p.m. until 5:30 p.m Monday through Thursday beginning September 15th.

The Homework help program is a drop-in service for children in grades 3 to 8.  High school aged volunteers help children finish their daily after school assignments.  The Homework Help Coordinator supervises the daily operation of the homework help program.  This includes helping to recruit and train high school volunteers and scheduling and monitoring the volunteers.  The Coordinator also helps children with their homework; having good verbal, math and library research skills are a definate plus. The Coordinator  maintains supplies, records, statistics and submits written reports as needed.

We are looking for someone who enjoys working with children and teens and can provide a warm, welcoming environment for the Homework help program.  You must be 18 years of age and a high school diploma is required.  If you are interested, please contact Library Manager, Lee Jouthas at 925-803-7266 or email at We will be accepting applications until August 25th.

Plans for Dublin Reads are moving right along.  We have just confirmed a date for the author, David Mas Masumoto, to come for an author program on Monday night, October 13th at 7 p.m. 

Author David Mas Masumoto

Author David Mas Masumoto

 Mr. Masumoto will be bringing books to sell and personalize for each reader.  Several book discussions have been scheduled including a brown bag book discussion on Tuesday, October 21 at noon and a book discussion at the Heritage Center on Saturday, October 25th at 3:00 p.m. We are working on getting pubic performance rights so that we can show the film The Real Dirt on Farmer John.   All of this coincides nicely with the Heritage Center’s Farm Life Exhibit scheduled for October 21 through November 19th.  Multiple copies of the book have been ordered. 

It turns out in another little unplanned coincidence that October is “Eat Local” month in the Bay Area. As we get closer to Dublin Reads we will share some good websites related to eating locally grown food.  Today I want to point out  the “Buy Fresh, Buy Local” website at  The second edition of the Bay Area Local Food Guide is available for downloading.  You can sign up for their newsletter of special events, enter your ziBuy Fresh, Buy Localp code and find a listing of resources for buying locally grown food, as well as restaurants and grocery stores selling locally grown food. Enjoy!

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