King Library Hosts Black History Month Events

King Library Hosts Black History Month Events

Henrietta Lacks and husband

Henrietta and David Lacks, circa 1945, from "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks."

By Pat Lopes Harris, Media Relations Director

The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library is hosting a wide range of events and exhibits in celebration of Black History Month.

University Scholar Series

Dr. Ruth Wilson, SJSU professor and chair of African-American Studies, will present “Genes, Guts and Grit: The Legacy of Three Extraordinary African-American Women” at noon Feb. 29 in King 225/229. Wilson’s research focuses on African-American women and the new black diversity in the African-American community. Her lecture will provide an overview of three women “she-roes” in American history: Lucy Terry Prince, Maria Stewart and Henrietta Lacks. Their contributions add texture to the characteristic descriptions of the 18th, 19th and 20th century American woman.

California Room Spring Open House

Many of us go to the library to borrow the latest movie or newest bestseller, but did you know King Library also houses items that are over 100 years old? The California Room is home to two sculptures by 19th century African-American and Chippewa-Indian artist Edmonia Lewis. To learn more about these sculptures, attend the open house at 6 p.m. Feb. 15, when local expert Mary Parks Washington will discuss the artist and her work.

Burdick Military History Project

SJSU’s Burdick Military History Project will present artifacts from one of the nation’s largest private collections at “The Price of Liberty: Artifacts of African-American Military Service,” an exhibit at the Cultural Heritage Center on the fifth floor of King Library through Feb. 29. Curator Antony L. Powell is a San Jose-based historian who for three decades has been studying, teaching, collecting and writing about America’s “buffalo soldiers,” the first peacetime all-Black regiments in the regular U.S. Army.

View more info on related events.

close up of a book

King Library Seeks New Book Donations for Older Children

close up of a book

The greatest need is for books that interest children ages 7-13.

By Luann Budd, King Library Administrative Officer

Partners in Reading enriches the lives of adults through reading, writing, technology, life skills, critical thinking, as well as English language learning, equipping them to achieve their goals and participate more fully and with greater confidence in all areas of their lives. Partners in Reading (a unit of the San Jose Public Library) features a family literacy program, Together We Read.

As you know, the intent of family literacy is to break the cycle of low literacy that is passed from one generation to another. Each child raised in a family with low literacy has a 50 percent greater chance of not being literate. Through family literacy, we work with adult learners who care for and live with children – parents, grandparents, caregivers and others – to help them understand their very important role in teaching and developing literacy skills in their children.

One of the most important ways to ensure literacy in a child is to read aloud to them every day and read together as a family. In order to do that families need books and home libraries. Through Together We Read family literacy, children are given books to spark their imagination and develop those literacy skills. Partners in Reading gives new, colorful selections to children that entice and engage them. One of their favorite activities is scanning the new books that are available and selecting just the right one with beautiful images and an exciting story.  You can tell when they have found that special book as their eyes widen and they freeze in place as they slowly turn the pages in anticipation.

During this season of giving, we ask for your support. Partners in Reading is sponsoring a new children’s book drive just for those in the family literacy program. The range of children we now serve in Together We Read is from birth to 13 years of age. Whether you select a board book for an infant or a picture book for a toddler or a chapter book for a child in elementary school, it will be appreciated. These new books will be distributed to families throughout the year and for many it may be the first book they own.

Our greatest need is for books that interest children ages 7-13.  Below are links to book lists that would interest a number of age groups.

We would welcome your donation of a new children’s book. Especially needed are new books for older children.  Here are some details about the book drive:

  • The book drive ends Friday, January 20.
  • Please donate new children’s books
  • Drop books off at the service desk of any San Jose Public Library branch or the Partners in Reading office at King Library.
  • Tag your donation “PAR at King Library” so it gets to the right destination

We so appreciate the support you have contributed throughout the year and your generosity with the program.

National Opera Week: Two Performances at King Library

National Opera Week: Two Performances at King Library

National Opera Week: Two Performances at King Library

Mezzo-soprano Betany Coffland as the discarded lover in Opera San José’s La voix humaine (photo by Chris Ayers).

Dates: November 1 and 4, 2011

Location: King 225/229

Description: Opera San José joins dozens of other opera organizations nationwide to celebrate National Opera Week (October 28 – November 6), coordinated by OPERA America, the national service organization for opera, with support of the National Endowment for the Arts.

As part of the week-long celebration, Opera San José will present two free public performances at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library in downtown San José and partner with the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority to encourage patrons to ride the VTA to the opera.

On Tuesday, November 1 at noon, the company will present a preview of two one-act operas, Leoncavallo’s emotional tour de force, Pagliacci, and Poulenc’s monodrama, La voix humaine. The program will include a selection of arias and duets performed by members of the cast, followed by a panel discussion with members of the creative team, moderated by Opera San José’s general manager Larry Hancock.

On Friday, November 4 at 4 p.m., children of all ages are invited to a performance of a one-act touring opera based on Engelbert Humperdinck’s classic, Hansel and Gretel. Performed in English by Opera San José’s singers, Hansel and Gretel provides children with a positive experience of an art form that may be new to them, offering a fantastic introduction to opera and theatrical storytelling through music and voice.

Both events will be held on the 2nd floor of the library in room 225/229, located at 150 East San Fernando Street at 4th Street in downtown San José. No reservations are required.

Opera San José will extend the celebration through the month of November by partnering with the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority to encourage patrons to take public transit to the California Theatre for performances of the company’s double-bill of Pagliacci and La voix humaine, November 12-27. VTA monthly pass holders can save 20 percent on tickets to any performance of Pagliacci and La voix humaine by presenting a valid monthly fare pass at time of purchase.

More information on Opera San José. More on National Opera Week. More on VTA fares and schedules.

About Opera San José

Opera San José, performing at the historic California Theatre in downtown San José, is a professional, regional opera company that is unique in the United States. Maintaining a resident company of principal artists, Opera San José specializes in showcasing the finest young professional singers in the nation. In addition to mainstage performances, Opera San José maintains extensive educational programs in schools and in the community at large, and offers Preview lectures and Introduction to Opera talks for all mainstage productions.

— Submitted by Elizabeth Santana, Marketing Communications Associate, Adult Outreach Coordinator, Opera San José

black and white photo of a young Chuck Berry and guitar

“America’s Beethoven” Exhibit in King Library

event poster

Chuck Berry composed the 1956 hit single "Roll Over Beethoven."

San Jose State’s Ira F. Brilliant Center for Beethoven Studies presents “America’s Beethoven,” an exhibit exploring the composer’s arrival and continuing presence in America through popular music, film and theater, including Chuck Berry’s 1956 hit “Roll Over Beethoven (click to listen).”

Curated by Professor and Beethoven Center Director William Meredith, Librarian Patricia Stroh, and award winning music historian Michael Broyles, the materials will be on display in the Special Collections Exhibit Hall and the Beethoven Center in King Library from October 1 through December 21. The hours are:

Mondays–Thursdays: 11 a.m.–6 p.m.
Fridays: 11–5 p.m.
Saturdays: 1–5 p.m.
Sundays: Closed

The exhibit is open to the public without charge. Funding was provided by the San Jose Office of Cultural Affairs, American Beethoven Society and San Jose State University.

More information, including an extensive collection of YouTube clips.

Students, Faculty, Staff Test Educational Applications of iPad

Student leans ipad on her desk to demonstrate how easy it is to use.

Senior communications student and King Library employee Diana Teddington demonstrates how quick, clear and user-friendly the iPads are at the library (photo by Amanda Holst).

By Amanda Holst, Public Affairs Assistant

Apple’s iPad is popping up all over campus, providing students, faculty and staff with the opportunity to explore the potential educational benefits of mobile technology. King Library is the latest place to give it a try.

“Right now we are experimenting and figuring out how often students are using them and in what ways,” said John Wenzler, associate dean for digital futures, technical services and information technology.

Students, faculty and staff can borrow any of the available 26 iPads at Student Computing Services for a four-hour block of time for use in the library.

A Quick Start Guide shows those who checkout iPads how to easily connect to the library’s wireless network, locate multiple apps, and access and use the library catalog.

Recipients cannot owe more than $10 in library fines and must be able to take full responsibility if the iPad is stolen or damaged.

CASA iPads

Two iPads are available for CASA students at the CASA Student Success Center. The long-term plan is to find ways to use such tech tools to enhance retention rates, according to CASA Student Success Center Director Kathryn Sucher.

This term, the iPads will be used in workshops to help students with notetaking.

“You can sync your notes to your computer and use the material in a variety of different places, creating presentations or portfolios,” said Dane Riley, an Apple higher education system engineer.

For now, CASA peer mentor and senior kinesiology major Michelle Pascua is using the iPad to go online.

“The benefit of having it at the success center is that if you need to do a quick search, it’s literally at your fingertips,” she said.

Lurie College iPad Initiative

The Connie L. Lurie College of Education may be the only place on campus where instructors can check out enough iPads for an entire class. This program, funded in part by an iPad mini-grant last spring, is designed to explore whether the iPad is a good tool for teaching in a K-12 setting, according to Interim Associate Dean Mary McVey. This semester, three classes will participate in the pilot program.

“The iPads have the potential to help instructors create K-12 classrooms that are flexible and individually-orientated,” McVey said. “If it is a good tool for that setting, then we need to have our students trained and ready to use them.”

Exterior of Martin Luther King, Jr. Library.

SJSU, San Jose Public Library Honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Exterior of Martin Luther King, Jr. Library.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Library

SJSU and the San Jose Public Library invite the public to the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 82nd Birthday Celebration, beginning with cake at noon Jan. 14 and continuing with a series of events including a freedom march, resource fair and panel discussions through March 24. Most events will be held at King Library, which is co-managed by the city of San Jose and the university. Continue reading

Student Mary Woods Interns at Library of Congress

SLIS student Mary Woods never dreamed that she would be able to combine her love for film and television with a career in librarianship until she spent her summer working as a junior fellow at the Library of Congress.

Woods, who earned her undergraduate degree in screenwriting from Chapman University, interned in the Library of Congress’ Moving Image department located at the brand new Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation in Virginia. Read Mary’s complete story from the School of Library and Information Science.

Beethoven Center at San Jose State celebrates 25th anniversary with exhibition

By: Richard Scheinin/Mercury News

The Ira F. Brilliant Center for Beethoven Studies at San Jose State University is celebrating its 25th anniversary this month. The most ambitious Beethoven study center outside Bonn, Germany, where Beethoven was born, is celebrating its silver anniversary with a sold-out fundraising banquet and concert next weekend — and with a free exhibit titled “25 Treasures for 25 Years.”

I spoke with William Meredith, the center’s director going back to 1985, about the exhibit, which opens Saturday at the Martin Luther King Library. (That’s where you’ll find the center, on the fifth floor). It includes letters penned by the composer, first-edition musical scores, rare paintings and other images of Beethoven — as well as a famous lock of his hair. (A bestselling book, “Beethoven’s Hair: An Extraordinary Historical Odyssey and a Scientific Mystery Solved,” by Russell Martin, tells its story.)

Beyond the exhibit, Meredith explained the uniqueness of the center, which grew out of a collection of Beethoven’s letters, scores and memorabilia donated to the university by the late Ira F. Brilliant. He was an Arizona real estate developer whose life, like those of millions of others, was transformed by Beethoven.

Q Bill, I’m going to let you brag on your anniversary. Outside of Bonn, Germany — home to the Beethoven-Haus center, the world’s biggest — is there any other Beethoven research center that rivals the one in San Jose?

There isn’t anything like it anywhere, actually. It’s very American, very open and accessible. When you walk in, you can actually sit down and play some of the instruments in the collection, very fine reproductions of instruments similar to those played by Beethoven and his contemporaries. So elementary school kids come in, and they get to try the harpsichord and the clavichord and the early piano. Well, this just blows them away, and they stay for hours.

We also have original, antique instruments from Beethoven’s time, including a Broadwood piano, made in London in 1823 — and similar to the instrument Beethoven owned in Vienna, the one on which he composed his late sonatas. Someone from the staff will demonstrate the Broadwood — and our other vintage instruments — for the school kids, or whoever’s visiting.

Q This doesn’t happen in Germany?

A No! In Bonn and in most music instrument museums, you can only look. It’s very frustrating to look at something that wants to be heard. Here at the center, everybody gets the docent-led tour. Everybody gets to hear the instruments. And the same is true of the books on the walls: They’re open for everybody to use. Let’s say a high school kid wants to do research on Beethoven’s deafness. He can come in and look at all the books we have on the subject, whereas in Germany, the kid could never even get into the Beethoven Archive at the Beethoven-Haus.

Q The Bonn center obviously is much older than yours.

A Yes, nearly a century older. It opened in 1889.

Q And it’s much bigger.

A Sure. But we’ve got some rare stuff, too, and we’re always adding more. We’re just now raising funds for a second lock of hair — one that Beethoven’s secretary Anton Schindler, his first biographer, actually cut while Beethoven was still alive.

But we already have cooler things than that. We have several of Beethoven’s letters, some of which we’ve never had on display until now. They’re in the new exhibit.

As is a newly discovered painting of Beethoven — a very old copy of a lost painting, one of the earliest portraits of Beethoven, a historical image. In fact, we’re showing numerous images of Beethoven, including a copperplate engraving by an artist named Blasius Hofel: Beethoven once said of this engraving, “Several people have discerned my soul clearly from it.”

And there’s another engraving of Beethoven’s doctor during the time when Beethoven was writing his Heiligenstadt Testament. (In his “testament,” the composer despaired over his illnesses and increasing deafness, wondering if he would be able to fulfill his destiny as an artist.) It’s a really beautiful, high-quality picture, so you actually get to see what this doctor — who foolishly sent the composer to the countryside “to rest his ears” — looked like.

Q Impressive.

A I think so. But coming back to your question, the Bonn center will always have more autographs than we do — more manuscripts and musical scores from the composer’s hand.

But maybe in 75 years we’ll have caught up in other ways. We’ve already created what some scholars have called the greatest research tool for studying Beethoven — the Beethoven Gateway, an ongoing bibliography and resource for almost everything written about Beethoven, about 20,000 items so far. We’ve just started to add scores: You can click on the score and print a copy of the first edition. And we’re adding digital images from our large collection of illustrations of Beethoven and his world. (Go to, and click on “Beethoven Online”.)

Q Are there other Beethoven centers and museums?

A Several little boutique museums exist. The Brunswick Castle outside of Budapest has a Beethoven room that’s a little museum. There’s also a little Beethoven room in the Erdödy estate outside of Vienna.

Q What else is unique about the center in San Jose?

A We publish the Beethoven Journal — again, there’s nothing like it, anywhere. At the Beethoven-Haus, they publish a journal that comes out once a year, but it’s made up of scholarly articles written for other scholars and not intended for the general public. Whereas the Beethoven Journal, which comes out two times a year, always includes two or three articles that are scholarly, but it also tries to aim at interested non-professional people.

For example, the new issue includes an article about the origins of the only Beethoven museum in Vienna, the Pasqualati-Haus Beethoven Museum. It describes how, in 1939, the Nazis decried the “abomination” of a Jewish family living in what was mistakenly thought to be Beethoven’s most important apartment in Vienna. The family was thrown out, eventually sent to Auschwitz, and the museum was founded as a “sacred place of devotion.”

And now the author of the article, Walther Brauneis, reveals the sordid history of the Nazis’ founding of the museum and shows that it was all a mistake. Beethoven actually lived next door to the apartment that is the museum. All year long, Beethoven lovers visit what they think is Beethoven’s apartment, without knowing the horror and error of its founding.

That’s an example of what we do. The Beethoven Center works to break down the walls of academia in terms of sharing information about Beethoven with the world at large. Rather than having the view that the information uncovered by scholars is intended only for scholars, we’ve taken the view that it’s for everyone. And given Beethoven’s impact on the world, the more we know, the better off we are. It helps everyone to understand what his music means and what it can teach us about what it means to be fully human.

Q You’re coordinating a series of scholarly books on Beethoven?

A It’s called the North American Beethoven Series, and it’s put out some incredibly important books. I didn’t write them! The center has co-sponsored the series with other institutions and — because San Jose State doesn’t have its own press — with other university presses.

It contains the first collection, in three volumes (from University of Nebraska Press), of the letters that were written to Beethoven, rather than by him. You can finally read the other half of the conversation. Ted Albrecht is the editor.

And then there’s a collection of all the reviews of Beethoven’s works. So any review, say, of the Fifth Symphony that was published during Beethoven’s lifetime (he died in 1827), and then up to 1830, is in the book. And they’re translated into English, and I’m working on it with two other editors. We’ve published two of the four volumes so far, again from the University of Nebraska Press, and the next two will be published by Pendragon.

A reviewer from 1813 was already writing, five years after the Fifth’s premiere, that it was a “classic” of large-scale instrumental music, but he also pointed out that the famous Scherzo movement had fallen apart at every performance he had heard because of its incredible difficulty. Some critics were still dismayed in December 1826, four months before Beethoven died. One reviewer called the Fifth so crazy and wild that it was contrary to good taste, that it’s monstrously long, and the third movement is so “extremely fatiguing” that the listeners have no desire to hear any more music when the work finally ends. Thank God the poor Beethoven, already on his deathbed, didn’t see that one!

Contact Richard Scheinin at 408-920-5069.

’25 Treasures for 25 Years’

Exhibit at the Ira F. Brilliant Center for Beethoven Studies
When: Saturday through Dec. 11: 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday, 1-5 p.m. Saturday
Where: Fifth Floor, Dr. Martin Luther King Junior Library, 150 E. San Fernando St., San Jose
Admission: Free

University Library Launches New Website

The University Library, housed within the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library, has launched a new website providing a seamless gateway for SJSU students and faculty members to access academic resources. The site also highlights unique and valuable services.

“The library did extensive usability testing with 47 people, including undergraduates, graduates and faculty, to make sure that the new site would be intuitive and easy to use for an academic audience,” said John Wenzler, associate dean for digital futures, information technology and technical services.

View the website.

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