Category Archives: PublicLibrary

Astérix: Learn a language to bring freedom to others?

In Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatra, the Druid Panoramix, of that unconquerable village shared with Astérix the Gaul, came away with a scroll from the Library of Alexandria. Could it have contained what we see in the image above? Unlike Queen Cleopatra, we do not have to speak ten languages, but studying at least two or three can help widening one’s perspective. Or simply communicating with fellow workers.

FDR’s Four Freedoms, particularly freedom from fear, are echoed in this film. From fear of being fed to Sacred Crocodiles to fear of losing face, languages and learning play a key role in this film, as in our real world today. Languages and libraries can also play a key role in moving us from our current world situation to one in which every human being is free from fear. Here is one proposal for how I hope we could move on, from #publicdomaininfrastructure as phase I, to phase IV’s #freeRoomAndRice for every person.

Phase I, already coming into motion, involves both humanizing all people in the eyes of one another, and building up existing infrastructure that contribute most directly to our long-term democratic institutions. The arts and media have been effective, historically, in sculpting ways of seeing the world, and in bearing witness to events. This is important for building empathy. Films like this one, books like the Harry Potter series, and TV series like Babylon 5 all help. But our institutions also need support, in order to support us over the long haul.

Growing up without a car showed me the importance of having transportation. Living in Europe showed me how efficient a railway system can be. Events over the past 3.5 years have shown us all the importance of both public education and also of adult education in the local community, as well as ongoing availability of free legal and financial advice. These sets of needs all come together in the institution of the Public Library system, as does one other. The public health system relies heavily on the assumption that both basic health education and current information are accessible to the entire population. Thus, all four parts of our infrastructure: transport, libraries and early education, adult continuing education (especially financial and legal), and access to health care, impact all of us at all income levels. So, the hashtag #publicdomaininfrastructure was created to pull together those specific issues as a way to focus on a reduced set of areas that could have a higher impact on the lives of many people. In doing so, energy and time are freed up to allow more constructive solution sets to be created to all of our problems. Once transportation and knowledge are established in support of general health, ways of funding our remaining critical policy needs can be found, starting with reducing the needless and crushing collections burden many face for medical and student debt. Once reduced, these burdens then allow time and energy for more apprenticeships, tutoring, and ways of educating ourselves that allow for far more cooperation and community building.

Phase II can then begin to lay the groundwork for new ways of seeing ourselves and our responsibilities toward one another. More to come on Phase II soon…

Let’s #EndPoverty , #EndHomelessness, & #EndMoneyBail starting by improving these four parts of our good #PublicDomainInfrastructure:

1. #libraries,

2. #ProBono legal aid and Education,

3. #UniversalHealthCare, and

4. good #publictransport

Read, Write, Ranked Choice Voting and Housing for ALL!!!!, Walk !

#PublicDomainInfrastructure #StopSmoking for CCOVID-19 ShiraDest

May, 12020 HE

Language learning, local education, and lots of ideas

Spanish has always been my favorite language, especially after moving to the bilingual South West. Technically, I was hired for my experience in Unix which led to my MAT in mathematics, but on the ground, my love of learning languages proved to be more important in the classroom. As an adult education instructor at the Continuing Education division of the San Diego Community College District, my fluency proved helpful for many of my students, and also, of course, the ESL classes help our students from many nations contribute in the USA.

Every local educational institution has room for improvement, particularly when seen from both faculty and student perspectives. I posed some questions recently about ideas for implementing low-cost projects that would have been helpful to our students when I taught in North campus involving

1.) a small library or study area,
2.) workshops by CA Promise Program graduates, 
3.) an on-site nurse paid for by medi-Cal, and
4.) access to public transportation:

1.) Many of my students told me they didn’t have a quiet place to study.  While I know that space is in very short supply on the North campus, I wonder if a small area, possibly in the multipurpose room when it’s not being used, could be set aside with cubicles or movable small desks and a small movable lending library like the tiny libraries?

  2.)   I wonder, on the assumption of course that having graduated and started a new career as a professional with a bachelor’s degree anyone can be found who will have time, if any students having graduated with a bachelor’s degree after getting their first two years of community college paid for through the California promise program or with the San Diego promise program, could be persuaded to come back either as tutors, mentors, or even just to give workshops in the areas in which they got their educations?  Particularly accounting majors or paralegal/pre-law majors who could give small workshops on dealing with debt in California including, California statutes of limitations, or financial planning workshops or how to do your own taxes if you only need to do the 1040EZ, etc?  One-on-one tutoring, and also mentoring,  that supportive help, especially for our high school equivalency students, could be both useful and inspiring.  Seeing successfully graduated professionals with a bachelor’s degree who came through the community college system and are willing to spend individual time with them, even if only a couple of hours a week, could make a difference.  Could interns or SCORE volunteers put a program like this together?  Do we track or stay in touch with students who finish the California or San Diego promise program once they finish their bachelor’s degrees?

3.) Many of my students worked two jobs or for other reasons never had time to see a doctor even when they were ill. I wonder if it is possible to pay, through the Medi-Cal system, for a nurse to be on-site, perhaps based out of the office  of each campus, a couple of days/evenings a week?

4.)  One of the biggest problem areas that I saw for my car-free students was that neither the Continuing Education division, nor the CE faculty Union was able to get the transit authority to enforce acceptance of CE student IDs for the monthly bus and rail pass discount.  In planning for post-#Covid-19 classes, will we have any resources to address public transportation discount and access issues?

I imagine that some of these ideas may be a little overwhelming, because I understand that time and resources are extremely limited, but once in a while, as Dr. Rivera-Lacey noted: we do have to dream.

Please share your ideas for improving local education, or for supporting any other parts of our critical Public Domain Social Infrastructure!

Let’s #EndPoverty , #EndHomelessness, & #EndMoneyBail starting by improving these four parts of our good #PublicDomainInfrastructure 4:
1. #libraries,
2. #ProBono legal aid and Education,
3. #UniversalHealthCare, and
4. good #publictransport
Read, Write, Ranked Choice Voting and Housing for ALL!!!!, Walk !


#PublicDomainInfrastructure #StopSmoking for CCOVID-19
ShiraDest

May, 12020 HE

Beat the odds by learning a language? These ancient Literate Ladies did…

Ask Tamar, Ruth, and Scheherazade.
רֶגַע… Rega… Wait, you say:
Scheherazade is not in the Bible, she is from the Thousand and One Nights, originally in Arabic, or maybe partly in Persian, but certainly not in Hebrew;
This, you remember!

Ok, point taken, her book was not in Hebrew, but Arabic is a sister language.   More on this shortly…

Tamar was a Canaanite woman, and so had to learn Hebrew, or Judah’s dialect of Hebrew at the very least.
Ruth, a native of Moab, had to learn the Hebrew of the time of Naomi.
Scheherazade, at the palace, had to learn the hardest languages of all: the languages of heartbreak, of story, and of love.

So, you see, Scheherazade’s story is the same as that of her Biblical sisters: she was a clever woman faced with a survival situation in a man’s world. And she, like her sisters, had to learn a language in order to survive.

Each lady had to live by her wits in difficult times, and to use the tools available to her at that time. Nowadays, they would surely go together to the Public Library to learn to use the power of modern tools like computers and smartphones, especially using Unix to navigate this new world. And as they succeeded then, so would succeed again, using adaptability, daring, and hope.

Hope for us all.

Let’s #EndPoverty , #EndHomelessness ,& #EndMoneyBail starting by improving these four parts of our good #PublicDomainInfrastructure:
1. #libraries,
2. #ProBono legal aid and Education,
3. #UniversalHealthCare , and
4. good #publictransport
Read, Write, Ranked Choice Voting and Housing for ALL!!!!, Walk !


#PublicDomainInfrastructure #StopSmoking for CCOVID-19
ShiraDest

April, 12020 HE

image: By Wikimedia – Wikimedia commons, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=55282489

Learning a language would help Hakan defeat the Virus: how? Ask the Loyal Ones…

#COVID-19’dan, nasıl kazanacayız?

How do we win against the #CoronaVirus?

Potansiyelim var.”  ==  “I have potential.”

Hakan, “The Protector” of Istanbul and of all humankind, argues that despite his lack of formal education, he has the potential to do just as well as any university-educated person, even to solve problems like a deadly virus epidemic.  And, in the end, he manages to do it.

(Hermione Granger y Amelia Folch would run to the #library to get the book Karakalem ve Bir Delikanlının Tuhaf Hikayesi by Nilüfer İpek Gökdel, to read about how one deadly virus was defeated by Hakan and the Loyal Ones, after learning Turkish, of course!)

Each and every person, Protector or not, has potential.  And every person has the human right to an opportunity to prove that potential.  But everyone needs education in order to bring out and fulfill his or her potential.   Hakan was given that education by Zeynep, his most Loyal One, but we all have a world-wide educational system that currently only works in favor of those who can either afford to pay, or have the opportunity to get scholarships.  Scholarships and education require enough stable housing to be able to study.  That requires at least enough food, clothing, and shelter to be able to concentrate or get safely to a library and concentrate for a few hours per day in safety.

Public transit often plays a crucial role in this, but this post will focus on the need for every person to have a free opportunity to gain education.  Whether it is a university education, or on-going adult education regarding consumer rights, legal rights of other kinds, like tenants rights and worker’s rights, or financial and debt-related rights, everyone needs training.  While most states do have some sort of free adult education, workshops on local laws, for example, most states do not have nearly enough resources available for all of the hard-working students who would like to attend university but cannot afford to.  I have a proposal for helping them to reach their potential, and thus helping us all to reach our fuller potential as a society.  And you don’t even need to learn #Turkish (although that will open windows on the wider world to you, should you choose to accept the challenge)!

What if every diligent student were offered free study texts and allowed to sit an entrance exam for free university studies, in exchange for the promise to help by giving back to the local community as payment for his or her studies?  For example, let everyone be given free SAT prep classes, and then, any person passing the entrance exam for university studies for free.  Suppose one passes the exam and studies accounting.  That person must first agree to teach free tax preparation courses every tax season, at least during the time he or she studies at the university.  Let everyone with a bachelors degree be given free LSAT prep courses, but then if admitted to a free Law School, agree to teach free courses on consumer rights, give free workshops on state debt laws, etc.  Let paralegal students study for free, but pledge to teach free seminars on local renters’ rights and let the MBA students study for free, but teach free seminars on investment and business planning or small business marketing planning in the local area, while studying for that free Master’s degree.

Meanwhile, remember: “Bu bir masal değil.”  “This is not a fairy tale.”

So, #LearnALanguage, compare the studies in various languages, and #StopSmoking!!

Let’s #EndPoverty, #EndHomelessness, & #EndMoneyBail while  improving these four parts of our good #PublicDomainInfrastructure:
1. #libraries,
2. #ProBono legal aid and Education,
3. #UniversalHealthCare , and
4. good #publictransport
Read, Write, Ranked Choice Voting and Housing for ALL!!!!, Walk !


#PublicDomainInfrastructure and #languagelearn,
ShiraDest

April, 12020 HE

Hermione Granger y Amelia Folch, que harîan ellas con el COVID-19

…sin duda, ir a la biblioteca!!
…clearly, they would go to the library!!

 

Where else can you learn how to help your fellow citizens combat the spread of this global pandemic, and also be a part of supporting a public institution stretching back to the earliest days of our Republic, and before?  Not only do public libraries feed our need for public knowledge, but they also feed our need for communal spaces where all can gather freely in community.   From disseminating key public health information to serving as polling places, census and social worker placements and entertainment/story telling locales, the public library is a crucial social institution that supports many facets of our democratic life.  From details on local and state level consumer rights information, from where to find current statutes of limitations to where we got the Statue of Liberty,  libraries serve many needs, and need more support.

Today, more than ever before, libraries need multiple language speakers, and we all need to learn multiple languages, to see how libraries in other places and how health care in other places work.

Aprendemos leyendo

We learn by reading

 

Let’s #EndPoverty , #EndHomelessness ,& #EndMoneyBail starting by improving these four parts of our #PublicDomainInfrastructure 4: (
1. #libraries,
2. #ProBono legal aid and Education,
3. #UniversalHealthCare , and
4. good #publictransport )
Read, Write, Ranked Choice Voting and Housing for ALL!!!!, Walk !

#PublicDomainInfrastructure, ‪#‎stopsmoking and #languagelearn,
ShiraDest

March, 12020 HE

Why #Libraries are so important for all of us, middle and upper classes included, as part of our #PublicDomainInfrastructure.

Comment: especially numbers 5 and 6: reading fiction helps re-wire the brain to build both empathy and compassion…

Right from childhood, many of us have been taught about that reading is very important, and perhaps one of the best hobbies we could have. That said, you may often wonder- how exactly does reading help, and precisely how it helps change the brain. Well, here are some ways reading changes your brain. 7 Ways […]

via 7 Ways Reading Changes Your Brain — Everyday Gyaan

Review of a Young Adult book on Slavery still relevant today: Chains, by Laurie Halse Anderson

Chains (Seeds of America, #1)Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am so glad I spotted (#Coverlove!) this book in the library, my second read by wonderfully supportive author Laurie Halse Anderson. This first person, past tense Young Adult historical coming of age novel was amazing! Halse Anderson does an excellent job of distinguishing indentured servitude from slavery from hired service while characterizing the main characters quickly and effectively. An excellent and poignant reference to the Memphis Garbage Workers’ Strike via a slave father’s sale is just one of the many places in this work that moves to tears, both of terror and of joy, in the end. Please read this one, as I know I shall, again and again.

Let’s #EndPoverty , #EndHomelessness ,& #EndMoneyBail starting by improving these four parts of our good #PublicDomainInfrastructure 4: (
1. #libraries,
2. #ProBono legal aid and Education,
3. #UniversalHealthCare , and
4. good #publictransport )
Read, Write, Ranked Choice Voting and Housing for ALL!!!!, Walk !


#PublicDomainInfrastructure
ShiraDest

April, 12019 HE

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Black Women Writers at Work: Review of an older but very persistently worthwhile book

I am so glad I happened to see this book Black Women Writers at WorkBlack Women Writers at Work by Claudia Tate
at the public library.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was moved with both recognition, and with fear, at Audre Lorde’s comment that “it’s scary because we’ve been through that before. It was called the fifties.” Then I was moved with that stirring to act, upon reading in print what I have known and been told in different words since Dunbar (High School): “My responsibility is to speak the truth… with as much precision and beauty as possible. … We’ve been taught that silence would save us, but it won’t.”
And we must not remain silent while the blood of our sisters/brothers/neighbors/communities/fellow human beings is shed.

Sherley Anne Williams reiterates this responsibility of a writer to write as well as one can and to “say as much of the truth as I can see at any given time.”

Although this book is dated, and does not include my favorite author (Octavia Butler), I am so glad that I read this book in spite of my initial misgivings. From Bambara’s hope that “We care too much … to negotiate a bogus peace,” to DeVeaux’s “responsibility to see,” I find my own compulsion to write validated by the responsibility of a writer to render individual expression into a universal expression, and to give voice to the voiceless/unseen/erased. To show the unspoken and to “empathize with the general human condition.”

Society needs all perspectives because without those perspectives, we are missing vast parts of what our society actually looks like, which leads to deep problems. Writing, as was pointed out, must transcend individual experience, but it also comes from and is filtered through individual experience, so we desperately, as leaders from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr to Octavia Butler have pointed out, need every point of view.

Last note (not in my GR review): I think that this book has helped me to see that my intended audience has two possibly conflicting sections –
I. those who have endured traumas in early childhood or also in adulthood, particularly due to structural racism, and
II: those who can change that situation.

View all my reviews

Let’s #EndPoverty , #EndHomelessness ,& #EndMoneyBail starting by improving these four parts of our good #PublicDomainInfrastructure 4: (
1. #libraries,
2. #ProBono legal aid and Education,
3. #UniversalHealthCare , and
4. good #publictransport )
Read, Write, Ranked Choice Voting and Housing for ALL!!!!, Walk !


#PublicDomainInfrastructure
ShiraDest

April, 12019 HE

Persist: review of a good but difficult book

Stronger Than You KnowStronger Than You Know by Jolene Perry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This first person #YAlit novela (a bit short for a novel, I imagine) was both very hard-hitting in its accuracy, and very hope-giving, if a bit too much so, perhaps, in the ending. I find myself agreeing with another reviewer about the timeline being too short for certain things, but I can understand or imagine that the author wanted to give hope and encouragement, and teenagers have very short attention-spans and time-line perspectives, in general.

For me, this was a difficult read emotionally because it had me reliving events from my own early childhood and teenage years, and the earliest were the worst, as the ending of the book brought the external and internal conflicts together in ways that confirmed my own experiences very uncomfortably. But this is a very important work, and it is crucial to persist.

View all my reviews

Review of a book worth reading

The Female of the SpeciesThe Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow, #TheFemaleOfTheSpecies, written in first person and present tense for all three PoV characters, is a book which is both difficult to read, and also cathartic. There are also some really good zingers, funny lines and situations, believe it or not, and some really spot-on descriptions of the humanity of one of the main characters from whom you’d not expect human warmth. I can only hope that I can make such a contribution one day, but if I manage to publish a book half as good as this crucial work by @MindyMcGinnis, I will feel my writing career to have been worthwhile.

I noticed that this was not her debut novel, and that the author seems to have had a bit of a time getting her agent to push for this work, which spent 15 years in a drawer. That tells me that these types of books are either coming into their time, now, after the ME TOO movement, or that I’d best better start with more light and fluffy novels until I get established as a fiction author. Either way, I am grateful and glad that McGinnis kept this work, and got it to see the light of day after all those years in the dark. In publishing this book, she has also helped many of us to believe that we can come out of the dark, as well, if not entirely whole.

(Reminds me of the female MC of Purgatoire des innocents English review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show… )

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