August 2010

If you were in elementary school from the early 1960s to the present, you have certainly read Harper Lee’s novel To Kill a Mockingbird.  I recall reading the book and then watching the movie in my classroom in the sixth grade. 

The Civil Rights Movement was already in progress when Harper Lee’s only novel  was first published in 1960.  This story of an African-American man falsely accused of raping a white woman was set during the Great Depression in the 1930s in the fictional town of  Maycomb, Alabama.  During this time, America was watching closely the infamous Scottsboro Trials, in which two white women accused nine young black men of rape. These trials may influenced Harper Lee as she crafted this novel.

Many critics have pointed out the similarities between her and Scout, and her childhood friend, Truman Capote, and Dill.   Harper Lee herself has said that she did not intend the book to be an autobiography.   She simply wrote what she knew and felt from her childhood.   It’s also her only book: she never published another novel, and, within a few years of To Kill A Mockingbird‘s publication, she went into seclusion.    

If you have only one novel you absolutely must write, you could not do much better than this novel.   Awarded the Pulitzer Prize, it’s never been out of print, and has long been a staple of  middle and high school  English classes. The novel has become an iconic example of a book that can make its readers into more sensitive and better people.

Interestingly enough, this novel often appears on the American Library Association’s list of banned books due to its use of profanity.  It has also been accused by some critics for its representation of African-Americans as simple folk who need whites to protect them.  Some see the novel as a powerful statement against racism,  and others see it as reproducing racism in a less obvious form.  I think myself that critics need to consider the time and society in which a novel was written before applying today’s standards of behavior to characters portrayed in a different society from our own, and set several decades ago. 

You can find Harper Lee’s novel in printed and recorded form at your Alameda County Libraries.  You can also find the movie version of “To Kill a Mockingbird”  in the library: 

To kill a mockingbird / Harper Lee

New York : Perennial, 2002       Fiction LEE,H

To kill a mockingbird [sound recording] / by Harper Lee

Prince Frederick, MD : Recorded Books, p2006, p1988, c1960     CDB Fiction LEE,H

To kill a mockingbird [videorecording] / screenplay by Horton Foote ; produced by Alan J. Pakula ; directed by Robert Mulligan ; a Universal International presentation of a Pakula-Mulligan, Brentwood Productions picture

Universal City, CA : Universal, [2005]         DVD Fiction TO


Last Saturday my spouse and I attended an invited guest staged reading of a play in development, “Rites of Passage”.  The authors, Ed Decker and spouse Robert Leone, are in the process of finding out how audiences react to a play for which they have been assembling notes for the past three years, and which they plan to release on stage in 2012.

 A reading is very different from an actual play in that the actors are looking at their notebooks and describing what will be shown on the screen or played while the action is taking place.  The action still takes place on a well lit stage and actors often dress in similar outfits.  This particular play’s theme is the struggle for human rights for LGBT people worldwide.   It was interesting to hear the reaction of other audience members regarding what they did and didn’t like about the play, and we felt that the 2 ½ hours in the theater was time well spent. 

If you have ever wanted to write a play or a movie script, there are materials available in the Alameda County Library collection that will be a great help.  Some suggestions are:

The art of writing drama / Michelene Wandor

London : Methuen Drama, 2008     808.2 WANDOR

The complete book of scriptwriting / J. Michael Straczynski

Cincinnati, Ohio : Writer’s Digest Books, c1996      808.2 STRACZYNSKI


The crafty art of playmaking / Alan Ayckbourn

New York : Palgrave Macmillan, 2003, c2002     792 AYCKBOURN

The playwright’s guidebook / Stuart Spencer

New York : Faber and Faber, Inc., c2002       808.2 SPENCER

Playwriting for theater, film, and television / Laura Shamas

White Hall, Va. : Betterway Publications, c1991        808.2 SHAMAS

Stage writing / Val Taylor

Wiltshire : Crowood Press, c2002      808.2 TAYLOR

The art of screenwriting : story, script, markets / William Packard

New York : Paragon House, c1987     808.23 PACKARD   

The complete idiot’s guide to screenwriting / by Skip Press

Indianapolis, IN : Alpha Books, c2001       808.23 PRESS

How to write a selling screenplay : a step-by-step approach to developing your story and writing your screenplay by one of today’s most successful screenwriters and teachers / Christopher Keane

New York : Broadway Books, c1998       808.23 KEANE

The insider’s guide to writing for screen and television / Ronald B. Tobias

Cincinnati, Ohio : Writer’s Digest Books, c1997         808.23 TOBIAS

Produce your play without a producer : a survival guide for actors and playwrights who need a production / Mark Hillenbrand

Hanover, NH : Smith and Kraus, 2001       792.0232 HILLENBRAND

Making scrapbooks has changed a lot since I was a student.   Then scrapbooking was very “low tech”.  I’d put photos (often Polaroid snapshots), cards, and newspaper clippings between paper pages in bound binders.

Among millions of others, I’ve discovered and enjoy posting pictures for friends, family, and acquaintances from around the world to see.  In  addition to the pleasure of posting my own photos, I can view photos of artistic and historic value from all around the world.

Dublin Library will be hosting a program by Creative Memories Coach Carole MacLean on Saturday, September 11th, 2010, between 12:30 and 4:30 p.m. in the Program Room.  This is a drop-in workshop, and Ms. MacLean will set up several tables for different types of scrapbooking where you can learn the basics and exchange information with others doing the same sort of project. 

Carole  asks that you bring your own photos and try out digital software for scrapbooking.  She will provide expert information about photo preservation, digital photography, and page layouts. 

Some suggested materials on scrapbooks available in your Alameda County Library System collection are:

Creative photo collage / Marie Browning

New York : Sterling, c2008      745.593 BROWNING

The decorated page : journals, scrapbooks & albums made simply beautiful / Gwen Diehn

New York : Lark Books, 2002              745.593 DIEHN

10-minute scrapbook pages : hundreds of easy, innovative designs / Raquel Boehme

New York : Sterling, c2000                  745.593 BOEHME

The complete guide to creating heritage scrapbooks / Memory Makers

Denver, CO : Memory Makers Books ; Cincinnati, OH : Distributed to trade and art markets by F & W Publications, Inc., c2002                     745.593 COMPLETE

The art of scrapbooking, vol. 1 : [videorecording] : if my husband can scrapbook…so can you!/ Legendary Video

[United States] : Legendary Video, 2005        DVD 745.593 ART

Scrapbooking for beginners [videorecording]

Eurgene, OR : Memory Lane Video, [2004]       DVD 745.593 SCRAPBOOKING

I’d like to highlight each piece of art submitted by area teens to our recent “Make Waves Through Art” contest. The entire display is available for viewing on the bulletin board in the Teen Area.


Dougherty Valley High School, Grade 10
Colored pencil, watercolor
Priscilla Cha

Dublin High, Grade 11
Colored pencil, marker, glitter
    In my artwork, I reflected the idea that the world is but one country, and humankind is its citizen.  We are all like waves of one ocean, and therefore we can all make waves together.  My work represents that every race is equal and we can all live in harmony. 

Negeen Khandel
Wells Middle School, Grade 8
Color pencil
In my illustration regarding “Making Waves” I was able to correlate the strength of the ocean to the adequacy  and power of Superman. As the waves go up and down in the ocean, we also struggle in our daily life.  Man can be as strong as Superman to stand up straight and strong in the hardships of life.

Simi Pajetta
Fallon Middle Scholl, Grade 8
Paint, oil, pastels

Jonathan Pak
Fallon Middle School, Grade 9
Watercolor, color pencil, pen

Seojin Park
Dublin High School, Grade 10
Poster color, color pencil,wire, beads, tracing paper, glitter, glue, pizza box

Denise Lee
Monte Vista High School, Grade 12
Watercolor, colored pencil
The saying goes: “Life is hard”. However, it can be less hard with a beautiful world full of creative artwork.  It is important to appreciate the happiness and peacfulness that Mother Nature grants us.  The serent strokes shown in Make Waves emit tranquil emotions to soften moods and emulate a “happy place”. By sharing a cheerful setting with the Dublin Library, I hope to brighten someone’s day, to encourage a child’s effort in studies, and to enhance a comfortable setting for engagement in learning.

Jennifer Ung
Dougherty Valley High School, Grade 12
Along With the Waves
Charcoal on Bristol paper
“Making Waves” is a really broad topic that could be interpreted in a variety of different ways. However, my interpretation of waves directly relates to the ocean and everything coming along with it. My drawing illustrates a diversity of seashells being washed towards the seashore. I chose seashells because they represent both elegance and strength, just the way the wave is. I used charcoal in order to achieve the rough texture of a conch. Finally, I used black and white contrast to capture a simple, yet captivating and realistic look.

 DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE?  Cast your ballot below or pick up a paper ballot in the Teen Area.  Three local area artists and art teachers are also judging the submitted art work. Let’s see if you agree with their choice.




Make Waves Through Art

One of the activities for this summer’s Teen Summer Reading Program, “Make Waves at your Library” was an art contest.  We asked teens ‘‘What does the expression ‘Make Waves’ mean to you?  Does an oceanic theme come to mind, involving sea creatures, ocean scenes, or sea mythology?  Maybe it means taking a stand and rocking the waters by addressing a social issue important to you.  Or perhaps it means a water sport or activity you enjoy.  Depict your idea through art”. 8 teens took up the challenge and submitted their work which is now on display on the bulletin board in the Teen Area.  Judging by 3 area artists and teachers will take place this week.  The art entry to score the most points based on Artistic Merit and Conformance to Theme will be awarded a $50 gift card to Target, graciously donated by the Friends of the Dublin Library.

Make Waves Through Art Contest Entries

Check out the exhibit today and vote for your favorite.  Ballots are available in the Teen Area.