August 2009

Ever wonder about your family’s history?  How about searching for a home remedy for the common cold?  Maybe you want to know when to grow seasonal vegetables?  Or, you are just curious about learning a new language such as French, Spanish, or German?  One needs to look no further than our library website at  as your window to the world.   These databases are easy to navigate, informative, and best of all, free to the public!  The following are just a sample of what’s available through the “ARTICLES AND DATABASES” section.







 “The library offers many thousands of dollars’ worth of online subscriptions at the click of a mouse. Articles can be e-mailed, printed or downloaded.” 






Here is an example of how to access the databases from our homepage.  Just type in and you will be directed to the following:

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 Here is an example of Alameda County Library’s ARTICLES and DATABASES page :





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 ****Some of the ARTICLES AND DATABASES links on will need an Alameda County library card number, or an e-card if trying to access the sites from outside the library****

Stay tuned in the future for reviews and news on specific databases.  Please feel free to leave a comment or question.


Now that students are starting another school year, it’s important to remember that a library card is the most important school supply of all for students of all ages. 

Public libraries exist in most nations of the world and are often considered an essential part of having an educated and literate population. Public libraries, including the libraries of the Alameda County Library System, are distinct from research libraries, school libraries and other special libraries in that they exist to serve the public’s information needs generally, as well as offering materials for general entertainment and leisure purposes.

As more commercial and governmental services are being provided online, public libraries provide Internet access for users who otherwise would not be able to connect to these services.  Many public libraries offer free training and support to computer users. 

Part of the public library mission is to attempt to help bridge the digital divide in information access.   The American Library Association (ALA), addresses this role of libraries as part of “access to information” and “equity of access”; part of the library profession’s commitment that “no one should be denied information because he or she cannot afford the cost of a book or periodical, have access to the internet or information in any of its various formats.”

Some interesting facts about the history of American libraries:

In his unconventional history The Tribes and the States, William James Sidis  claims the public library is an American invention and states that the first town library was established in Boston, Massachusetts in 1636.

The first publicly-funded library opened in 1833 in Peterborough, New Hampshire.

The first free public children’s library was opened in 1835 in Arlington, Massachusetts.

The  New York Public Library in New York City,  begun in 1849 and consolidated in 1901, one of the most important public libraries in the United States-  Samuel J. Tilden – Governor NY 1875 – Presidential Candidate 1876, was a lover of books. Tilden bequeathed his millions to construct the NY Public Library.  He believed Americans should have access to books and a free education if they so desired.

Scottish-American businessman Andrew Carnegie donated the money for the building of thousands of Carnegie libraries in English-speaking countries in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Some of the most interesting books I’ve read have often been those books that were recommended to me by friends and acquaintances at the Dublin Library.


Peggy Tollefson’s  Thursday Book Group is reading The Poet of Baghdad by Jo Tatchell.   In the winter of 1979 Nabeel Yasin, Iraq’s most famous young poet, gathered together a handful of belongings and fled Iraq with his wife and son. Life in Baghdad had become intolerable.  This an interesting story of a man growing up in Iraq during the 1950’s and 1960’s.  Not only his story but the story of a country in change.


Carmin Cerullo reports:  I recently read We Two : Victoria and Albert: Rulers, Partners, Rivals by Gillian Gill.  I have read many biographies on Queen Victoria and what sets this one apart is that there is not a tone that Prince Albert was this golden boy who was so virtuous and always correct.  There is more of a tone that from the Queen’s birth the Coburgs wanted to place this young man and mold him to be the “King” of England because a woman would need someone to guide her.  Anyway, this book is not for someone that has never read a biography on Queen Victoria or knows little history of the period but I think those that are interested in the Victorian times will find this book reveals new insights into the marriage and reign. 


I myself have just finished reading When We Were Colored:  A Mother’s Story by Eva Rutland, which will be the featured book of the “Dublin Reads” program for September – October 2009.   This book, originally published in 1964, is a compilation of different articles about Eva Rutland’s life as a wife and mother, many of which were published in different publications at an earlier date.   Much of the book shows her sense of humor when raising four children, and also reveals her struggle to prevent her children from being psychologically harmed by the racism still prevalent in the America of the 1950s and early 1960s.


Dublin Reads is now in its third year and we are preparing to offer another wonderful book for the community to read together.  This year’s book is When We Were Colored by Eva Rutland.  This is a powerful and important memoir laced with humor, grace and tenacity. when we were colored  Eva  is now 92 years old and lives in Sacramento.   At the time she originally wrote this book, she was a young mother of 4 children.  She is the granddaughter of a former slave,  grew up in Atlanta Georgia, graduated from Spelman College, and married a civilian working with the tuskegee airmen, Bill Rutland.  After being relocated from Georgia to Ohio, the family landed in Sacramento.

Here is a taste of Eva’s voice: “I was born in Atlanta, Georgia, during the olden days when grass was on the lawn, pot was a cooking utensil, webs were for spiders, and civil rights were for white folks.”

This passage is typical of the entire book — vivid, funny, but serious at the same time.  The book started out as a series of magazine articles Eva wrote in thportrait200x200e late 50’s and 60’s that were published in women’s magazines such as Redbook.  Schools were being integrated.  Eva wanted white mothers to know that her children weren’t any different from their own youngsters.  She wrote because she wanted people to be kind to her children. In doing so, she displays in page after page something her own mother passed along to her… a lived belief in the dignity and worth of all people, regardless of race, class or creed. In 1964, these articles were gathered and published under the title The Trouble with Being a Mama.  Much later, after her husband had passed away, daughter Ginger re-published the book under the title When We Were Colored.

Each year, when we plan Dublin Reads  we seek new ways to engage the community with the selected book.  This year we contacted the hosts of Channel 30’s community television book club program, In A Word and suggested that they might like to interview Eva for their show.  Hosts, Jim Ott and Kathy Cordova responded enthusiastically so last Tuesday, Aug. 18 we gathered at Channel 30’s studio in Pleasanton.  When Eva goes out to author visits or for something like an interview she is always accompanied by either her own daughter, Ginger or granddaughter Eva Fields (and sometimes both).  Tuesday it was Ginger Rutland.  Ginger is a journalist with the Sacramento Bee and does radio commentary for the NPR station out of Sacramento.   Ginger is the person who has created a family publishing business, IWP,  Book Publishers in order to publish and distribute her mother’s writings.

Back to my story: Eva you must understand as I mentioned, is now 92 years old.  She is blind and she wears a hearing aid.  As I entered the studio waiting area, Eva and Ginger were already there as were two people Kathy had invited to participate in the book discussion portion of the show, Reggie Duncan and Dublin resident, Eddie Jo Mack. What followed is a mini version of what Dublin Reads is meant to do for the whole community: an immediate camaraderie among strangers over our common experience of knowing this book. 

Reggie declared that he loved the book, and I started telling the group about some of the programs that Dublin Library is planning around it.  We talked about the movie Sweet Old Song shsos-dvd-coverowing at the Library in October, and I said that you are never too old to discover your soul mate; the movie is about musician Howard Armstrong who met the love of his life at age 73.  (And it just so happened she was 30 years younger than him!)  All the while Eva sat and listened to our conversational buzz, her head slightly inclined to the right as if she were listening to something just beyond our radar, a serene smile on her face.  “You remember my mother is blind,” Ginger says to me and I start, because I did not remember!  And Eva is hard of hearing, so I take her hand and lean in to her ear and say it is such a pleasure to meet you and thank you so much for coming all this way from Sacramento to do this interview.  Her voice when she speaks is raspy, but she is so pleased to have been invited.  Reggie is clearly emotional as he talks to her, she reminds him of his beloved mother and he can’t say enough about how the book resonated with him.  Later, when I talk to Eva alone she says to me when she was girl she did not want to live in the neighborhood where her parents raised her in Atlanta– a neighborhood she describes in the book as a “strange mix of races, classes and creeds.” The Jews the middle class whites, the German immigrants, the poorer whites and the poorer still Negroes in that neighborhood were a far cry from the tidier streets across town where richer Negroes lived.  “But I was wrong,” Eva told me.  It was good that I lived in that neighborhood.”  In the book Eva writes that ”somehow I got to think of people as people—not white or black or Jews—and when tragedy came I was able to keep that balance.”

She not only kept it, she passed it along to her own children. 

Please join us this Fall during the months of September and October, in reading When We Were Colored.  Copies of the book will be available at the library and at several community locations including the Senior Center, Heritage Center and Shannon Community Center.  Immersing yourself in the experience of a book is sometimes like holding it up to the light to see what themes are refracted off of it; the programs we have planned are meant to complement and enhance the experience of the book:

See the film Sweet Old Song: at 73 years old African American string band musician, Howard Armstrong meets the love of his life – 43 year old artist, Barbara Ward.  This beautiful film chronicles their courtship & marriage and its impact on their life and art. Filmmaker Leah Mahan will offer commentary. Saturday, October 3, 2:00 pm.

Discuss the book with Mayor Tim Sbranti. Join the Mayor at the Dublin Library for a conversation, Tuesday evening, October 13 at 7:00 p.m.  

Hear Storyteller, Kirk Waller.   kirkKirk has been involved in theater, mime and storytelling for over 20 years.  The Contra Costa Times says “He can move a crowd with laughter or tears with his folk tales and fables of Mexican ants, proud roosters and slavery. As a professional storyteller, Kirk Waller, 42, twists these tales into funny and poignant stories to connect with crowds of all ages.” Saturday, October 10, 2:00 pm.




M748-PK_RUTLAND_BW_port embedded prod_affiliate 4eet the Author:  the Friends of Dublin Library sponsor a reception and author visit with Eva, her daughter Ginger and granddaughter Eva Fields.  Ginger presents a slide show with pictures from her family that date back to the late 1800s. Sunday, October 18, 2:00 p.m.




Look for Eva and Ginger’s interview along with the book discussion with Reggie and Eddie Jo on Channel 30’s “In a Word” airing in September and also available at the show’s website.

Watch this blog for more information as we work on the filling in the details for these programs.  Happy reading!

bleachThe Dublin Library has recently acquired Bleach, the best-selling supernatural action-adventure series by Tite Kubo. Bleach is available at the Dublin library in both in manga (graphic novel) and anime (animated television series) DVD formats.

 The basic storyline revolves around a 15-year-old boy named Ichigo Kurosaki, who has been able to see and communicate with ghosts ever since he can remember.

 Ichigo is one of those stock anime/manga adolescents who’s almost thug-like on the outside, but very sweet and gentle on the inside. In fact, in his introductory sequence, we see him beating up a group of guys in an alley…because they vandalized a small shrine Ichigo had built to comfort the ghost of a young girl. He’s also shown bringing fresh flowers every day to the shrine.

 His interactions with the ghost strengthen his immense spiritual powers, and he begins to attract soul-devouring demons (known as Hollows). In response to hisbleachvol.7 dilemma, a female Shinigami (a Soul Reaper sent from the afterlife) named Rukia appears to protect Ichigo and his family. When a powerful Hollow attacks Ichigo’s home and targets his two younger sisters, injuring them and also disabling Rukia, Ichigo agrees to a risky transfer of her powers and becomes a substitute Shinigami.

 Rukia loses her supernatural powers as a result of the transfer, and forms an uneasy alliance with a reluctant Ichigo–she’s the strategist and fount of demon-slaying knowledge, and he’s the brawn with the actual ability to banish Hollows.

 This arrangement leads to the usual complications, best seen in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, of balancing real-life concerns like homework with demon-slaying job—but there’s a further complication because a transfer of powers is a capital crime for a Shinigami. Eventually, Shinigami law enforcement catches up to Rukia, leading to a multi-chapter story arc as Ichigo and a group of his friends enter Soul Society (the Shinigami realm) to try to rescue her.

 Bleach is an action series, with no explicit sex or nudity, mostly-bloodless violence, and occasional mild sexual references. While it’s not the most original or fabulously well-written work, it is a very solidly entertaining genre piece, likely to be enjoyed by older teens and adults.

Written by Guest Columnist, Karin Welss