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Some of you may remember a popular exhibit we had in 2009 titled “Creating Community: African Americans in San Diego.” The exhibit featured materials from various African American archives and collections housed in Special Collections. Since the time of that exhibit, a lot of people have been working hard to build a broader collection, one with a strong emphasis on the Civil Rights Era in San Diego.

That hard work has resulted in The Harold K. Brown Civil Rights and African American Experience Collection, named after Harold K. Brown, a prominent leader of the civil rights movement in San Diego. Brown is an SDSU alumnus (class of 1959) who later became the first African American administrator at SDSU. Mr. Brown is one of those people who worked hard to create this collection, so I’m going to let you listen to what he has to say about it in this video created by the Urban League of San Diego County:

On October 22 at 4pm, we’re celebrating the Harold K. Brown Civil Rights and African American Experience Collection with a reception at the Parma Payne Goodall Alumni Center. If you would like to attend, please RSVP to Lynn Hawkes at

More about the collection:
Oral Histories in Special Collections
Creating Community Online Exhibit


LughnasaIn the time of the ancient Celts, Thanksgiving was called Lughnasa, and it was celebrated on August 1 (Lunasa is the Irish Gaelic name for August). Lughnasa marked the beginning of the harvest season and the ripening of the first crops. Traditionally, it was a time for community gatherings, market festivals, and reunions with family and friends. In areas throughout Europe, and especially in Ireland, people still celebrate Lughnasa with bonfires, dancing, and feasts. In the United States, where many Irish immigrants settled during the 1800s, August became the time chosen for family reunions and parties. In a nod to modern U.S. work schedules, later generations have moved Lughnasa get-togethers to the Fourth of July.

How do I know so much about an obscure Celtic holiday? To begin with, I researched it via our Articles and Research Guides.

On our main Web page, click on “Find” and then “Research Guides.” You can search by subject matter, type of source (newspaper, dissertation, book, etc.), or type in some keywords in the “Search” bar. For Lughnasa, I searched under “Religious Studies” and also typed in keywords such as “Celtic,” “festivals,” and “harvest.” You can do the same for just about any subject. My search for “harvest festivals” returned 56 hits. Searching “Lughnasa harvest” returned three. If you find an article that interests you and the library doesn’t own it, you can request it through Interlibrary Loan.

Online articles aren’t the only sources we have available. Some older publications are in microfilm/microform and can be found in our Current Periodicals and Microforms Center. We also have books on most subjects. I’ve listed a few of the sources I found on Lughnasa at the end of this post.

You may be familiar with the word “Lughnasa” from the excellent play titled Dancing at Lughnasa by Ireland’s leading playwright, Brian Friel. If you haven’t seen the movie adaptation, we have it in the Media Center. Check it out.

Dancing at Lughnasa (video recording)
The Druid Chronicles (microform)
Celtic Mysteries: The Ancient Religion (book)
The Religion of the Ancient Celts (book)

Alexander Street Press's Online MusicMusic lovers, do we have a treat for you! The SDSU Library now has access to Alexander Street Press’s Music Online Listening. This streaming audio collection is a fully cross-searchable suite of hundreds of thousands of classical, jazz, American, and world music recordings; scores; and pages of full-text reference content.

Currently, there are more than 250,000 pieces of music in these databases, and Alexander Street has promised that these collections will triple in size over the next nine months. Below are the five databases in the collection:

    American Song
    Classical Music Library
    Contemporary World Music
    Jazz Music Library
    Smithsonian Global Sound for Libraries

Alexander Street Press’s Online Music Plus can be accessed by clicking the “Articles & research guides” link under “Library Quick Links” on the library’s Web page. On the “Research Guides” page, select “Music“; on the “Music” page, click “Streaming.” At this point, you can elect to visit the main Music Online site and browse by composer, title, genre, etc., or select one of the five databases you wish to explore. Tracks can be listened to online and, if you create a free account, saved to your own playlist, which can be kept private, shared with everyone at SDSU, or shared with a group of individuals you define. And, you don’t have to come to the library to use Music Online Listening; you can sign in from home using your library PIN and Red ID.

March is “SDSU Month,” and on Saturday, March 19, the university will be holding its annual “Explore SDSU: Open House” day. We’ll be offering guided tours of the library at 9 a.m., 11 a.m., and 12 p.m. Two of our librarians are also offering intriguing and helpful workshops: “Top 10 Things to Ask Your Doctor” will be held at 10 a.m. and “Ten Steps to Find Your Family Tree Online” will meet at 10:30 a.m. Both workshops will be held in Room 2203 of the Library Addition. To attend a workshop or tour, just show up at the dome entrance. We’ll have a table with information and smiling staff to help you find your way!

    I’m at SDSU Library (555 Campanile Drive, San Diego) w/ 4 others.
    1:41 PM Sep 9th via foursquare

    Getting better acquainted with this lovely auditing textbook (@ SDSU Library w/ 2 others)
    11:06 AM Sep 9th via foursquare

    Study time… (@ SDSU Library)
    10:59 AM Sep 7th via foursquare from SDSU Malcom A. Love Library, San Diego

    I just ousted Timothy P. as the mayor of SDSU Library on @foursquare!
    12:41 PM Sep 7th via foursquare

What do these four Twitter tweets about the SDSU Library have in common? The posters all announced they were at the library via Foursquare.

Foursquare is a growing location-based social network that helps people connect with friends using GPS via their mobile device. Say you arrive at your favorite coffee shop and want some company. You “check in” on your cellphone, and your friends can see where you are on a Foursquare map. And by the way, you earn points for checking in from various locales, so being mobile and adventurous are pluses.

One of the cool things about Foursquare is you can integrate it with Twitter. When you check in on Foursquare, you have the option to tweet it out on Twitter (say that fast five times!).

And no, as far as I know, we have no elected officials in the library, mayors or otherwise. What Timothy P.’s vanquisher is referring to is, when you check in at the same location often, you become the “mayor” of that spot, and you have to defend your title as part of the game.

Foursquare isn’t the only location-based app; Loopt, Brightkite, Whrrl, and now even Facebook offer similar services. If you’d like to learn more, I’ve included a couple of links to articles on Mashable that can explain location-based social networking far better than I can. So the next time you tell someone you’re “going to the library” instead of helping them move or do the laundry, you can prove it!

More information on located-based social networking:

Beyond Foursquare
Foursquare: Why It May Be the Next Twitter

A Man and a Woman on a Park Bench

A Man and a Woman on a Park Bench, by Jeanne Dunn

Have you seen this painting? It’s located near the children’s literature section on the 4th floor of Love Library. Did you know it was painted by an SDSU faculty member?

There’s a lot you might not know about the artwork found in the library, which is why we created the “Art in the SDSU Library” Web page. Clicking on a thumbnail brings up a page dedicated to that artwork, giving information about the artist, the work’s location within the library, etc.

The page will be updated as we receive more artwork, so visit often. Better yet, drop by the library and see what’s hanging!

Art in the SDSU Library

Did you know that poet Alan Ginsberg took his famous Beat generation photographs with a second-hand Kodak camera? Or that the Oak Ridge National Laboratory is helping to develop a system that can more effectively detect possible cyber security attacks within large organizations? Those are only two of the many interesting things I learned by listening to the podcasts made available by the U.S. Government. This site contains podcasts covering health, history, the arts, defense and international relations, money and taxes, and many more topics. I promise, you could spend hours listening to these programs. And if you don’t know what a podcast is, there’s even a link explaining it.

magic lanternmagic lantern advertWow! These are really cool! I didn’t know about magic lanterns until Special Collections was gifted a collection of them by Betty and Homer Peabody. Learn more about them on Special Collection’s blog, and take a look at their online exhibit.

Flickr Photos

SDSU Library on Twitter

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