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Will Eisner Week posterThis is your chance to learn about one of the greats of the comics world: Will Eisner. The library is celebrating “Will Eisner Week”—March 1- 7, 2014—with a series of events and an exhibit that will not only educate you, but entertain you, and hopefully enlighten you about one of America’s greatest writers and cartoonists.

On February 28, an exhibit featuring examples of Eisner’s work will open in the Reference Services area on the 1st floor of the Library Addition. Included in the exhibit are comics from the Word Balloons series created by SDSU illustration students. The exhibit will run through March 10.

On March 4, filmmaker Neil Kendricks will discuss “A Comic-Book Odyssey: Through the Paper Menagerie of Graphic Narrative to ‘Comics Are Everywhere!’ then Back Again.” Kendricks serves as film curator for San Diego’s Museum of Contemporary Art and is currently teaching a screenwriting class at SDSU. His documentary, Comics Are Everywhere, is currently in production. The lecture will be held at 2 p.m. in Room LL430.

The documentary Will Eisner: Portrait of a Sequential Artist will be screened on March 5 at 1 p.m. in Room LL430. The documentary details Eisner’s story and documents the influence his career had on the world of comics.

Eisner created one of the genre’s most lasting characters, The Spirit, whose adventures were first presented in the Sunday newspaper comic book inserts that Eisner produced for select American newspapers every week from 1940 to 1952. After then spending several years running American Visuals Company, which produced instructional manuals in comic book form for business and government, Eisner revived The Spirit in a series of reprints starting in the 1970s. It was also during that decade that Eisner began producing the works that would cement his reputation; a series of “graphic novels,” a term that he helped popularize and that helped bring a new level of seriousness to the comic arts. As an indication of his lasting legacy, the awards given out at Comic-Con International’s annual ceremony to honor the best works in the industry bear his name: the Eisner Awards.


edward goreyArtist/writer Edward Gorey would have turned 88 today. Known for his melancholy, sometimes surreal but also amusing illustrations, Gorey produced an amazing volume of work during his lifetime. He is perhaps best known for illustrating editions of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells, and Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Eliot. Viewers of the PBS Mystery! series will remember Gorey’s eerie-yet-whimsical Edwardian-esque opening credits.

Blue Aspic

The SDSU Library has a large collection of Gorey’s work, thanks to SDSU alumnus Andreas Brown, who was a friend and benefactor of Gorey’s. The collection is housed in Special Collections and University Archives on the 4th floor of Manchester Hall/Library Addition. In fact, in spring 2004, the library presented an extensive exhibit of Gorey’s work titled “From Prodigy to Polymath: The Singular Journey of Edward Gorey.” The previous year, Special Collections featured a smaller exhibit titled “Poetic and Poisoned: The World of Edward Gorey.”  I’ve included a few photographs of the exhibits below. Brown also donated Gorey’s personal library to SDSU, and it currently is being cataloged.

If you would like to spend some time with Edward Gorey, view our catalog entries for the Edward Gorey Collection and select some you would like to see. The staff in Special Collections can access the items for you.

Display case from the exhibit "From Prodigy to Polymath: The Singular Journey of Edward Gorey."

Display case from the exhibit “From Prodigy to Polymath: The Singular Journey of Edward Gorey.”


Display case from the exhibit “From Prodigy to Polymath: The Singular Journey of Edward Gorey.”

Display case from the exhibit “Poetic and Poisoned: The World of Edward Gorey.”

Display case from the exhibit “Poetic and Poisoned: The World of Edward Gorey.”

Display case from the exhibit “Poetic and Poisoned: The World of Edward Gorey.”

Display case from the exhibit “Poetic and Poisoned: The World of Edward Gorey.”

You may have read the recent article in the San Diego Union-Tribune about the world-class science fiction collection donated to the SDSU Library by Escondido resident Edward Marsh. If you haven’t, you should, because this is a pretty spectacular collection of rare books, art, and artifacts. Let’s just say that when I saw a fraction of it arranged on the tables in Special Collections, I felt like I was looking at the El Dorado of science fiction, comics, fantasy, and pulp fiction. It’s breathtaking. Most of the collection is from the golden age of science fiction, and most of the works and photographs are signed first editions.

Below are some of the photos I took when Special Collections held a preview.




SDSU Library Receives $2.25M Collection (San Diego Union-Tribune, January 25, 2013)
Library Receives $2.25 Million Sci Fi Collection (SDSU’s NewsCenter)

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!

Congratulations to librarians Pamela Jackson and Patrick Sullivan for the publication of International Students and Academic Libraries: Initiatives for Success! The book’s description on ALA Store’s Website reads:

    The number of international students studying on campuses in the United States is at an all-time high. International students bring with them special skills and insights, but they also present unique challenges for our educational systems. Libraries play a critical role in connecting these foreign students, not only to our universities and colleges, but also to the information literacy skills they need to succeed.

    The insightful case studies presented in International Students and Academic Libraries: Initiatives for Success describe over a dozen exciting projects that support the success of international students studying at academic institutions. The work provides numerous examples of new and innovative strategies for librarians to encourage library use among international students and increase international student success. This volume is essential reading for academic librarians, library educators and professional collections at institutions that support international student populations.

More information—including how to order—can be found here.

November is National Novel Writing Month, and you have until midnight on November 30 to complete your 50,000-word masterpiece. “OMG,” you say, “How do I even get started?” Here’s a few ways the SDSU Library can help kick start your literary career:

1. Need an idea for a story? Some authors find ideas in current news stories. Our Current Periodicals and Microforms Center has newspapers from around the country and across the globe, as well as magazines such as Time, Newsweek, National Geographic, People, and many more. Writers also get inspiration from other writers; check out our selection of novels and short stories located on the 4th floor of Love Library.

2. Now you have your idea, but how do you construct a novel? Below are a few books on writing from our shelves that will help you to organize your thoughts and ideas and structure your novel:

3. The bulk of your novel is written…great! But you have a few paragraphs that seem awkward. Wouldn’t it be great to have someone read over it and offer suggestions? You might find that someone in the library’s new Tutoring Center, located in Room LA1103 under the Dome. The tutors won’t proofread or edit your work, but they can offer suggestions on how to improve your writing and point out where your weaknesses lie.

4. It’s done! Now you have several options. You can share your novel with your friends, find an agent to help you get it published, or publish it yourself. And we have information on that end of the book industry as well:

Good luck! We hope to see your novel on our shelves someday!

Lucille BallOne of the first television shows I remember watching was I Love Lucy. As I child, I thought Lucy’s madcap adventures working in the chocolate factory and hawking Vitametavegamin were a riot. As an adult, I still enjoy watching the show in reruns, and her movie The Long, Long Trailer is one of the funniest films I’ve ever seen. Over the years, I’ve also gained a far greater appreciation for Lucille Ball as a groundbreaking actress and comedienne and as a businesswoman and television pioneer.

August 6 is Lucille Ball’s birthday. She would have been 100 this year. If you’re interested in learning more about this incredible lady, the SDSU Library has many resources for you to explore. The Media Center has recordings of her television shows and movies, including The Long, Long Trailer. Do yourself a favor: check out some of these recordings and watch this woman act. If laughter is, indeed, the best medicine, you’ll have added at least five years to your life. And if you want to learn more about the woman behind the laughter, I’ve listed some of the books we have about Lucille Ball.

Once in his life, every man is entitled to fall madly in love with a gorgeous redhead. – Lucille Ball

Media Sources
Ball of Fire: The Tumultuous Life and Comic Art of Lucille Ball
Love, Lucy
Lucille: The Life of Lucille Ball

Urban HipsterWere you one of the many who didn’t get badges to Comic-Con? No worries. If you want to see some excellent comics, science fiction, graphic novels, drawn books, and zines by A-list authors and artists, we have them in our Special Collections and University Archives Department.

In the quiet of Special Collections, you can enjoy works by Alan Grant, Roberta Gregory, Bob Layton, and many more without waiting in long lines, jostled by stormtroopers and zombies. We have 1st edition books by science fiction writer extraordinaire Greg Bear and boxes of fantastic original works by drawn book writer/artist Donna Barr.

And if you do have Comic-Con tickets, great! Get your photo taken with Vampire Bill. Check out the latest steampunk fashions. Then take the trolley to SDSU. Special Collections is located on the 4th floor of the Library Addition. If you want a glance of what’s in store for you here, visit the Comics Collection Finding Aid. To use our collections, you don’t need a badge. Dressing as your favorite anime character is optional.

Today is the first day of summer. When I was a child, this was a joyous occasion, as it meant the season of backyard barbeques, pool parties, and all-day bicycle rides had just begun. It also meant weekly trips to the library with my mom to check out a stack of books to read at bedtime.

I have many fond memories of those summer nights, following the Pevensie children through the wardrobe into Narnia, making the long journey home to Yorkshire with Lassie, and wrinkling time to rescue Meg Murry’s father on Camazotz. Feeling nostalgic about my fictional playmates, I visited the 4th floor of Love Library where the children’s book collection is housed. As I thumbed through the pages, reading bits and studying the illustrations, I felt a strange urge to drink grape Kool-Aid and twist an Oreo in half! Hmmm, where did I leave my jump rope? Reading a well-loved children’s book always brings out my inner child.

Maybe it’s time you spent some time with old friends. No matter what age kid you are—one who grew up with Winnie-the-Pooh or Frank and Joe Hardy or cut his/her teeth on Ramona or Harry Potter—the SDSU Library has shelves of your old friends, waiting to romp again in the playground of your mind. Or perhaps you want to introduce your child to some new friends; the SDSU Library also has many newer releases, such as Olive’s Ocean and A Sick Day for Amos McGee. If you can’t stop by our library to browse, you can search online for your favorite children’s books. I’ve included some links below.

Hey, it’s summer! Time to go inside and play!

Children's Books

Visiting with some old friends!

SDSU Library’s Research Guide for Children’s Literature
Children’s Literature Comprehensive Database
Database of Award-Winning Children’s Literature
Best-Selling Children’s Books of the 20th Century

Linda Salem, our children’s literature bibliographer, is guest blogging today. Here’s her account of a lecture she attended on November 15 at SDSU:

Julia Alvarez

Julia Alvarez

    It surprises Julia Alvarez when people ask her if writing for children is her way of taking a break from writing for adults. To Alvarez, writing children’s books is no break. It is harder than writing for adults because she must more carefully choose what to leave out.

    Speaking to a standing room only crowd today at SDSU, Alvarez said she wants Dominican Republic children to have books to read that include their folk stories and traditions and so she writes them. Her Alta Gracia Foundation, started with husband Bill Eichner, funds a DR mountain village school and library where children and adults learn to read. Their library design is that of a “snack bar” library with a convenience window where people can check out books.

    Among Alvarez’ DR children’s titles are — The Best Gift of All: The Legend of La Vieja Belén/El mejor regalo del mundo: la leyenda de La Vieja Belén (2008), illustrated by Rudy Nunez; The Secret Footprints (2000), illustrated by Fabian Negrin; and A Gift of Gracias. The Legend of Altagracia (2005), illustrated by Beatriz Vidal.

    Lists of Alvarez children’s books are at Read more on Café Alta Gracia at Today’s talk was sponsored by the Bread and Roses Center of the Department of Women’s Studies at SDSU in partnership with the Association of Chicana Activists, Eveoke Dance Theatre, and The Cultural Worker.

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