You are currently browsing the monthly archive for August 2012.

The folks who organize the Hugh C. Hyde Living Writers Series have created a great line-up of writers for fall 2012. The readings are free, and you don’t need reservations to attend. All of the readings listed below will be held at 7 p.m. in Room LL430 of the SDSU Library.

September 12: Joanna Brooks is the author of the popular blog Ask Mormon Girl, which grew out of her memoir, The Book of Mormon Girl. Since the start of Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, Brooks has been a sought-after commentator and has been featured on CNN and in the Washington Post. At SDSU, Brooks is an associate professor and chair of the Department of English and Comparative Literature. She is also the author of American Lazarus: Religion and the Rise of African-American and Native American Literatures and currently serves on the editorial board of American Literature. Joanna Brooks
October 3: Jeff Biggers has worked as a writer, editor, educator, and radio correspondent across the United States, Europe, India and Mexico. His award-winning stories have appeared on NPR, PRI, and in various newspapers and magazines. He is the author of The United States of Appalachia, In the Sierra Madre, and Reckoning at Eagle Creek. He co-edited No Lonesome Road: Selected Prose and Poems of Don West, which won an American Book Award. His newest book, State Out of the Union, will be released in late September 2012. Jeff Biggers
October 17: Marilyn Chin is the award-winning author of numerous books, including Rhapsody in Plain Yellow, Dwarf Bamboo, and Revenge of the Mooncake Vixen. She is featured in a variety of anthologies, including The Norton Anthology of Literature by Women and The Oxford Anthology of Modern American Poetry. Chin is a professor of English and Comparative Literature at SDSU, where she teaches in the MFA program. Marilyn Chin
October 24: Camille Dungy is the author of Suck on Marrow; What to Eat, What to Drink, What to Leave for Poison; and Smith Blue, which won the 2010 Crab Orchard Open Book Prize. She serves as editor and co-editor of numerous journals and anthologies, and her poems and essays have been published widely in anthologies and print and online journals. She is a silver medal winner of the California Book Award and has twice received the Northern California Book Award. Dungy is a professor in the Creative Writing Department at San Francisco State University and is the fall 2012 featured artist for the Laurie Okuma Memorial Reading. Camille Dungy
November 7: Alumni from SDSU’s MFA program in creative writing will share excerpts from Lantern Tree: Four Books of Poems, which is a group publication published by San Diego City Works Press. The reading will take place on November 7 at 7 p.m. in Room LL430 of the SDSU Library, 5500 Campanile Drive. The event is free and open to all. The authors are
Chris Baron received his MFA in poetry from SDSU in 1998. He is an editor with San Diego City Works Press and is on the executive board for the Border Voices Poetry Project. He also teaches English and writing at San Diego City College and consults on writing programs at other schools. His work has appeared in numerous literary magazines and journals, including Pearl, Aethlon, The Journal of Sports Literature, Sierra Club Press, and City Works. Chris Baron
Cali Linfor writes poetry, articles, and short stories. Her first book, A Book of Ugly Things, appears in Lantern Tree: Four Books of Poems. She served as poetry editor of Epicenter Literary Magazine for 16 years and is a member of the Mayday Poetry Workgroup. She currently lectures in rhetoric and writing at SDSU. Cali Linfor
Heather Eudy’s work has been featured in several anthologies, and her first book, Bills of Lading, appears in Lantern Tree: Four Books of Poems. She also writes fiction, essays, and travel narratives. She received her MFA in creative writing from SDSU and has taught English in Mexico and a variety of schools in San Diego. She currently teaches English at Southwestern College and San Diego City College. Heather Eudy
Sabrina Youmans began her career writing for magazines and newspapers. Her first book, Pacific Standard Time, appears in Lantern Tree: Four Books of Poems. She received her MFA from SDSU with Pockets of Air. She has served as a learning specialist for the past 15 years, orienting student-athletes to university writing and the demands of college. She is now a senior learning specialist at UCLA. Sabrina Youmans
November 28: Lance Olsen has written 11 novels, including Calendar of Regrets, Nietzsche’s Kisses: A Novel, and Girl Imagined by Chance. He has authored numerous other publications, including four short-story collections, a poetry chapbook, and a textbook about fiction writing. Olsen is the recipient of the Pushcart Prize, a Fulbright scholar, and a former Idaho writer-in-residence. He serves as chair of the board of directors at Fiction Collective Two and is fiction editor at Western Humanities Review. He is a professor of English at the University of Utah. Lance Olsen

For more information about any of these readings, please contact Meagan Marshall at or “like” the Living Writers Series on Facebook.

Flamsteed's Atlas Coelestis

A hand-colored copy of Flamsteed’s Atlas Coelestis, dated 1753

You may have read in the news recently that a team of astronomers, including several researchers from SDSU, have discovered two planets orbiting a pair of suns roughly 5,000 light years from earth. Named Kepler-47, it is considered to be the first multi-planet system orbiting two suns (a binary star).

What you may not know is that the SDSU Library’s Special Collections Department has a remarkable collection of historic astronomy books and manuscripts, including works by Johannes Kepler, the German mathematician and astronomer for whom NASA’s Kepler Mission is named. The Historic Astronomy Collection also contains classic works by Copernicus, Brahe, Galileo, and Newton, to name a few.

The collection contains some extremely rare and valuable astronomy books that were printed between 1501 and 1650, including the collection’s crown jewel, Copernicus’ De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium. Lovely hand-colored celestial maps and accounts and predictions of astronomical events also provide a unique glimpse at humankind’s early steps toward understanding the universe.

Take a few minutes to browse our celestial collection online or stop by and see these unique works in person. It’s worth your time. And speaking of time, the collection also contains a fascinating body of work on horology—the science of time-keeping!

Summer only appears to be a sleepy time around the SDSU Library. While you were away from campus, we’ve been busy!

Reference Services AreaReference Services Area Renovation
I have a feeling that Reference Services is going to be “the place to be” from now on. With its new carpet, paint, and comfortable furniture, it’s a functional—but attractive—place to study or relax. We’ve added more seating, as well as more collaborative learning and individual study spaces. Many of the lesser-used reference materials were weeded out—and replaced with online reference sources—creating more open space. More student computers were added, and we expanded the art exhibits. Tables can be rearranged to suit study groups, and portable white boards are available in various areas.

Comic-Con Kids
Around 40 years ago, an amazing thing happened here in San Diego: a group of teen-age comic book fans and an aspiring graphic artist pooled their meager resources and founded what would grow into Comic-Con International! It’s a story that should be told, and who better to tell it than the remaining members of that group and others who were a part of the convention’s early, magical years.

Early founders of Comic-Con, circa 1970With a $10,000 grant from the California Council for the Humanities, the library is developing an oral history project titled “The Comic-Con Kids: Finding and Defining Fandom.” The project will explore the emergence of comics, science fiction, and fantasy in the youth counterculture movements of the 1970s, with a primary focus on Comic-Con. Recording began on June 29, with SDSU student Jonathan Valdez interviewing Mike Towry and Jackie Estrada. The oral histories will be available to the public on a Special Collections-affiliated Web page that will also contain photographs, copies of original documents, and film excerpts.

SDSU Library iPhone App
Library assistant Tyler Rogers has developed an iPhone App for the library that can be downloaded from iTunes. With the app, you can view the library’s mobile catalog, see the latest titles added to the collection, find library hours on the go, view maps of the book stacks, browse the library’s book classification scheme, and send an email to the Reference Desk. Visit the SDSU Library iPhone App Web page to learn more about it.

The Papers of Richard AlfRichard Alf
Special Collections is the fortunate recipient of papers and documents once belonging to Richard Alf, one of the founders of Comic-Con International. Richard passed away in January 2012, and his mother, Martha, donated his collection to the library during the summer. The new collection, “The Papers of Richard Alf,” consists of approximately 20 linear feet of various materials and document types related to Comic-Con conventions, his comic book business and store, original art by Jack Kirby and Scott Shaw, and material on the Empire Sign Company and other ventures he was involved in.

Link+ Out, WorldCat In
As of May 31, the library discontinued its participation in Link+. Library patrons wishing to borrow books are now encouraged to use Circuit, WorldCat, or Interlibrary Loan.

Comic Arts Conference poster sessionComic Arts Conference Poster Session
Members of the library’s Comic Arts Committee presented a poster session titled “Comics, Comic-Con, and SDSU: A Symbiotic Relationship” on July 14 at the 2012 Comic Arts Conference, which is an academic conference held in conjunction with Comic-Con International. The presentation covered the library’s Comic-Con Kids Oral History Project, the work of the Comic Arts Committee, and the comic arts collections held by Special Collections.

This is the 24/7 Study Area at around 11:15 a.m. today. Take a good look at it. This is what “The Calm Before the Storm” looks like. You won’t see it this empty again until late December. It’s break right now, and fall semester 2012 begins next Monday. If you need to use a computer, this is a really good time to do so.

24/7 Study Area

Comic-Con co-founders Mike Towry and Richard Alf

Comic-Con co-founders Mike Towry (left) and Richard Alf (right) in the early 1970s.

Considering the mega-event that Comic-Con International has now become, it’s hard to believe that the engine driving its creation was a small but enthusiastic cadre of local teen-agers. But that’s exactly how it came about.

One of those teen-agers was Richard Alf, a San Diego native and son of an SDSU psychology professor. Richard not only had a galaxy-size knowledge of comics, he had three things his fellow co-founders did not—a car, some cash from an already thriving mail order comics business, and a genius for organizing. In 1970, he served as co-chair of what was then “San Diego’s Golden State Comic-Con.” The following year, he became its chairman. Richard eventually gave up his volunteer positions at Comic-Con, opening his own comic book store—Comic Kingdom—in the mid-1970s, and later branching out into other businesses. However, he remained a well-known and respected authority on comics and all things Comic-Con.

Richard passed away in January 2012 at age 59. His mother, Martha Alf, gifted his papers to the SDSU Library’s Department of Special Collections in summer 2012. The new collection, “The Papers of Richard Alf,” consists of approximately 20 linear feet of various materials and document types related to Comic-Con conventions, his comic book business and store, original art by Jack Kirby and Scott Shaw, and material on the Empire Sign Company and other ventures he was involved in.

At Comic-Con 2012, a session titled “A Tribute to Richard Alf” was held on July 13, honoring the late co-founder. Rob Ray, the library’s head of Special Collections, served on this panel. The program description read: “Richard provided business sense, funds, transportation, energy, hard work, enthusiasm, good cheer, and social vision that proved essential to establishing Comic-Con as a viable institution.” The Alf papers should help document how Richard achieved this, and they’re a vital addition to the library’s unique and growing comics collection.

More about comics at the SDSU Library:
Comic Arts Committee Web Page

Flickr Photos

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