September 2008

“Dort, wo man Bücher verbrennt, verbrennt man am Ende auch Menschen.” 


“There, where they burn books, they will finally also burn people.”  


         Heinrich Heine, from his play Almansor (1821)



This quote from the German playwright and poet refers to the time of the reconquest of Spain from the Moors and when copies of the Koran were burned in the marketplace. 




Still today there are many people who would want books removed from public libraries or not published at all.  These people fear that, if other people are allowed to judge for themselves, they won’t draw the “right” conclusions, and this might threaten the status quo. 



Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read is observed during the last week of September each year. Observed since 1982, this annual American Library Association  event reminds Americans not to take the precious democratic freedom to read what you want for granted.

Banned Books Week celebrates the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one’s opinion even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular and stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints to all who wish to read them.

There’s a Russian proverb that says “Everything is discovered in its own proper time.”  While writing this article, I came across a new book in the Dublin Library, entitled “A Universal History of the Destruction of Books: from Ancient Sumer to Modern Iraq” by Fernando Baez.  This work, the result of twelve years of research, details the history of book suppression from 4100 B.C. (as the result of warfare between Sumerian city states) to the looting of the National Library of Iraq in Baghdad by uncontrolled mobs in April 2003, while American occupation troops looked on.   In between these two dates, books were destroyed in ancient Greece, China, Rome, Constantinople, in the Islamic World, during the conquest of the New World, during the Reformation and Renaissance, and in the Twentieth Century in fascist and communist countries. 


As a lover of books, a student of many languages, and as a librarian, I believe that exposure of many ideas – including ideas one may not agree with – is vital to ones ability to make intelligent decisions in life.  


Dublin Library has set up a display near the Large Type book collection to celebrate Banned Books Week.  Please help yourself to a brochure listing the most commonly challenged or banned books and feel free to borrow one or more of them, as well!


Take a Child Outside Week September 24-30 is an international effort to help children discover our natural world. During this week, parents, teachers, and other caregivers are encouraged to take children outside to explore and enjoy their surroundings. The Dublin Library is hosting two programs to help families get outside.

Ever wanted to go camping but without the long car ride?

On Wednesday September 24 at 6:30pm naturalist Katie Colbert will talk about Sunol Regional  Wilderness, an East Bay Regional Park only 15 miles from Dublin.  Families will find out all the secrets of  this little bit of wilderness in their own backyard.  

  • Did you know you can stay overnight at the park?  
  • That you can visit “Little Yosemite” ? 
  • That “The Old Green Barn” is filled with information?       

Learn all the answers and ask questions of your own.                               

Plant a Bulb!


On Tuesday September 23rd landscape designer, Terri Walder hosted a bulb planting workshop in the library’s Children’s garden.  25 kids and parents, learned about spring bulbs and planted a bulb to take home. Dublin will be a prettier place come March when these bulbs bloom all over town.  The Friends of Dublin Library provided all the materials. 






This past Labor Day weekend, roughly 60,000 people attended the first Slow Food Nation festival in San Francisco.   During the festival, visitors tasted farm-fresh produce, sampled biodynamic wines, learned how bread is made, and briefly returned to a time when people made their food from scratch. 


The Slow Food movement was begun by Carlo Petrini in Italy in 1986 as a response to fast food chains which were forcing smaller, mom-and-pop restaurants out of the marketplace.  The Slow Food movement promotes fair trade, sustainable farming practices which do not harm the environment and preserving and celebrating traditional foods.  There are currently Slow Food organizations in 131 countries.


“So, how does that concern me as a patron of Dublin Library?” you may ask.  Well, Dublin Reads is currently reading the book Epitaph for a Peach by David Mas Masumoto, which is the story of one farmer’s efforts to save the Sun Crest peach, a delicious peach which has the disadvantage of having a relatively short shelf life.  Once people taste a Sun Crest peach, they love it, but how do you get stores to stock a peach which must be sold in a relatively short time after it is picked? 



Author David Mas Masumoto will be discussing his book and his life on a family farm in the San Joaquin Valley on Monday, October 13th, at 7 p.m. in the Library Program Room.    


On his webpage, Mr. Masumoto informs his readers that Sun Crest peaches can be found at Whole Foods and other outlets with organic produce in the San Francisco Bay Area, and at Berkeley Bowl and Monterey Bowl in Berkeley.



In addition, Dublin Reads programming will include a film showing of The Real Dirt on Farmer John on September 25th, and presenting actress Lilith Rogers as Rachel Carson Returns, on October 23rd.  Ms. Rogers tells Rachel Carson’s story in the first person, reading from her books, speeches and letters, and answering questions from the audience.  I originally saw Ms. Roger’s show at a senior potluck and meeting one month ago and heartily recommend that you see her.   













Well last Saturday evening we had one of the best library programs I think I’ve ever had the fun to participate in.  We had something over 75 people come and see AstroWizard, thanks to a grant we received from the community gift program of the Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC, the managing contractor of the Lawrence Livermore National Lab.   Last May, the Alameda County Library Foundation received $5,000 to put on four, family friendly science programs at the Dublin Library.

The inspiration for these programs comes from an article that appeared in the Valley Times last year about the burgeoning popularity of Science Cafes and Ask-a-Scientist programs.  The article notes that “The combination of a casual setting that includes beverages and articulate scientists who don’t assign homework seems to have struck a chord with everyone, everywhere.  The “cafe scientifique” movement that started in Europe a decade ago has now spead to science cafes around the world, in coffeehouses, bars and even bowling alleys.”  As we read this, we wondered, why not libraries?

Why not indeed.  Don’t get me wrong.  We aren’t totally there yet.  We got the grant but there are still some rough edges to work out — like a sane way to offer refreshments to an overflowing, enthusiastic crowd of excited children and adults.  But if last Saturday was any indication, there is an audience for this type of programming in the library. 

Our first event in this series featured Dave Rodrigues, a.k.a AstroWizard.  Dave has a great resume for doing this type of program: lecturer at the Morrison Planetarium, and the California Academy of Sciences. Program Director of the East Bay Astronomical Society at Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland.  But mostly Dave is “crazy scientist man” to me…a person so passionate about his topic that every adult I spoke with last Saturday didn’t know whether to be alarmed or amazed.  We all settled on amazed.  (The kids, by the way, just recognize him as one of their own. It was a badge of honor to have your picture taken with AstroWizard after the program.)  Dave brought two telescopes which we set up on the grassy knoll just outside the library. 

Dave Rodrigues assembles his telescope.

Dave Rodrigues assembles his telescope.

 Before beginning his powerpoint dramatization of all things astronomical, Dave dons the costume of AstroWizard, all to convince his audience that there is real magic in the Universe. Is the earth big or little? AstroWizard shows us the earth right next to Jupiter and guess what, it turns out the earth looks a little puny next to that giant.  Is there the possibility of life in other galaxies, in other solar systems?  Listen to AstroWizard rattle off the numeric potential for life in a Universe with billions and billions of stars and planets and it seems incredible that it hasn’t been discovered yet. 

At the end of the program everyone got a chance to look through a telescope and view the moon and Jupiter with its moons, in this very lovely, clear as a bell, evening sky. 

 At one point AstroWizard told us all to look up at the northwestern sky because in two minutes we would see a flash of light like a star.  It wouldn’t last long — it was the sun glancing off the antenna of a passing satellite.  We all looked and looked and saw nothing, but AstroWizard kept saying two minutes and then we started counting down and then counting up and then– yes, there it was, just for a few seconds, a twinkling of light in the sky that disappeared just as quick as it arrived.  It was just like magic.

So this is my Thank You to Dave Rodrigues for sharing his great passion with us and also to all who came Saturday night.  I especially want to thank Drake Rice, a community volunteer who is helping us put together this science series and was indispensable. As midnight approached, Drake and I were staggering after AstroWizard (whose energy was still going strong!) trying to help him pack up his stuff. I also want to thank Avi Dey, a teen volunteer who came at the spur of the moment after I called him Saturday afternoon, to ask his help.

Yesterday, I was told by our Children’s Librarian that a woman came into the library and was talking about how her husband and child went to the program on Saturday night while she stayed home with the baby. “I called him on his cell phone about 10:15 and asked where he was? He said I’m still at the Library and we are having too much fun to leave.”

Thank you AstroWizard!



The Dublin Library is pleased to welcome Dublin’s first City Historian, Georgean Vonheeder-Leopold.  Georgean was born and raised in Hayward, Ca. and moved to Dublin in 1971.  She has served as a member of the Dublin Chamber Board of Directors, the Dublin City Council, and the Dublin San Ramon Services District (DSRSD).  Her involvement in local arts and heritage has included representation on the Dublin Historical Preservation Association Board since 1990, the Dublin Fine Arts Foundation Board since 1995, and the Dublin Heritage and Cultural Arts Commission since 2004.

Georgean took time out from her busy schedule to talk about her new position.  Here are the following questions and her responses:

What is your official title?   City Historian

Why has the City of Dublin decided to appoint a City Historian?  The city council determined through their goals and objectives workshops that the time had come to officially appoint someone who would be responsible for preserving the information for the future.

What do you expect to be doing as City Historian?  This first year we will spend time developing the job description.  After that, I’d like to get as much, as possible [materials] digitized and searchable so everyone has access.

Is there any historical project(s) that the citizens of Dublin should be excited about?  Two; the digitization project [the local history digitization project] and the Kolb farm moving from its present location to the Heritage Center.

Do you want to add anything else?  Please let everyone know that I will take anything they have of historical nature pertaining to Dublin.  These things will be stored until they can be displayed or scanned.

Georgean mentioned the California Local History Digitization Resources Project (LHDRP) in which the Heritage Center and Dublin Library digitized 200 original photographs owned by the Museum.  The goal of LHDRP is to preserve local history resources such as historical photographs, providing permanent public access to a digital version.   This project is supported in whole or in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered in California by the State Librarian. 

To be able to view the digitized materials go to: .