Local and Community History the Focus of APALA Program

By Frederick J. Augustyn, Jr.
The Library of Congress

A program co-sponsored by APALA and the Librarians of Color on Sunday, June 24 titled “So You Think You Can Write: Librarians and Friends Gather and Preserve Our Community History” featuring five books produced under the auspices of Arcadia Publishing’s Images of America series attested to the use that diligent librarians and historians can make of personal and institutional, especially pictorial, records. Florante Peter Ibanez, Manager of Library Computer Services, Loyola Law School, Los Angeles who co-authored with his wife Roselyn Estepa Ibanez Filipinos in Carson and the South Bay (2009) made the general introduction to Asian-American ethnic enclaves. He noted that there are many artifacts of history, not all in print or already on film. A challenge to historians is to record what exists in oral tradition and in other non-tangible forms, such as dance.

Jenny Cho, Chair of the Oral History Program, Chinese Historical Society ofSouthern California, spoke of capturing the memories of those aged 75 and older in her book Chinatown in Los Angeles (2009.) Chinese immigrants have been in America at least since 1850, which coincidentally is when Los Angeles was founded. She noted the 1871 Chinese Massacre in the city, the worst anti-Asian event ever in the U.S. History is ever present with us as was indicated by the bill of apology for the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act issued within the past week.

Lessa Kanani’opua Pelayo-Lozada, Palos Verdes Library, one of the authors of Hawaiians in Los Angeles (2012), said that the photos that she used in her presentation were largely from her family in order to safeguard others’ privacy. Her grandparents and her wish to write her library school thesis on this topic were inspirations for her work on the perpetuation of Hawaiian identity in a new “’aina” (land) outside the home islands. Among the things revealed in her project was that many left what others regard as paradise for educational advancement, for economic reasons, and to pursue mi l itary careers. Pelayo-Lozada listed challenges such as: “community politics” – disagreements among those who supported statehood and those for ethnic sovereignty; time constraints, especially those on “Hawaiian time;” and people reluctant to share personal photos. She admitted that this is “not a definitive history, but a snapshot.” Elnora Kelly Tayag, John Spoor Broome Library, California State University Channel Islands, shared methods that proved effective in producing her book Filipinos in Ventura County (2011). She surveyed local collections although most pictures came from personal rather than corporate collections; engaged in much cold calling because not everyone uses email; attended weekly and monthly meetings of many ethnic organizations to advertize her project and to build trust; and applied for (and fortunately received) a few grants.

Bill Watanabe, founding Executive Director, Little Tokyo Service Center, recounted the themes from the book Los Angeles’s Little Tokyo (2010). Among them were: enterprise, tradition, World War II, sports, and creativity. Many do not know that basketball is very popular with Japanese-Americans in southern California both as a spectator and a participatory sport. Another little-known fact is that the world-wide Pentecostal movement began on Azusa Street in Little Tokyo in 1906.

From ALA Cognotes Annual Conference Highlights (2012)

Northern California APALA Social Announcement

The ALA Annual Conference is over, but still want to see and enjoy company of your fellow APALA members who are in Northern California?

Then join our APALA Northern California Summer Social on Friday, June 29, 2012, at 7pm at the newly-opened, third branch of Enjoy Vegetarian Restaurant. We’ve dined before at the Chinatown location and the food is delicious, reasonably-priced and the company of APALA members.

We’ll order off the menu <http://enjoyveggie.com/menu.html>.

APALA on a Mission: Field Trip to Little Tokyo, Ethnic Neighborhoods

By Frederick J. Augustyn, Jr.
The Library of Congress

The Asian Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA) on Friday, conducted its conference cultural field trip by bus to a district in Los Angeles that is a vibrant collection of ethnic neighborhoods. Its destination was Little Tokyo, designated a National Historic Landmark in 1995, one that “possesses historical significance in commemorating the history of the United States of America.” Nearby are Olvera Street, site of the original Spanish settlement and a Chinese neighborhood. The purpose was to experience a sample of Japanese American history and culture while in Southern California.

The excursion consisted principally of: a one-half hour docent-led tour of the Japanese American National Museum (www. janm.org); a one-half hour tour of its Resource Center (also known as its library and archives); and, after lunch, a two-hour long walking tour of the district. The museum originally opened in 1992 in a former Buddhist Temple, built in 1925 with Egyptian flourishes when the King Tut phenomenon was the cultural rage, across the street from the JANM’s current building.

In the museum’s entrance was a statue of a crane, symbolizing hope, enclosed by barbed wires, representing the Japanese-American concentration (internment) camps during World War II. There was a reproduction of the Japanese American Memorial to Patriotism that is in Washington, D.C. A part of an actual camp from Heart Mountain, Wyoming was transferred to the museum in 1994.

A second exhibit was on “Japanese Pioneers in Hawaii.” “Picture brides,” a custom whereby immigrant men had wives selected for them when the men sent their own photographs back home, were common until about 1920. Japanese Americans in Hawaii comprised the all-Nisei 100th Infantry Battalion, later to join with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, which liberated Dachau.

The Resource Center is forced to cope with limited funds. Currently there is no librarian, one research assistant, one archivist, and volunteers who help out with both answering research questions and arranging the archival holdings. Information for genealogists includes internment camp and immigration records, often copies of materials from the National Archives. The Buddhist Churches of America (BCA) Records is a collection co-owned by the museum and BCA and is an ongoing, active collection of what now consists of approximately 400 boxes. The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) Records, a national civil rights advocacy organization, is another significant collection.

The group passed by a fire look-out tower, originally made out of wood but now cast iron, in the Japanese Village Plaza. Curiously this plaza was built by a Chinese developer. Bob Honda developed another shopping plaza in the area. Cultural fusion resulted in products such as mochi (rice) flavored ice cream and Japanese burritos and tacos. The group passed by several subsidized housing sites, such as Miyako Gardens. At the Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple, built in 1976, a Buddhist minister spoke about his non-monastic denomination, Jodo Shinshu Buddhism of the “Pure Land” sect, which went back 800 years. He pointed out the adaptations made to American customs,such as pews (but no kneelers), Sunday services and special programs for children.

The tour concluded with the “Go for Broke” military monument (1999) in honor of the more than 16,000 Japanese Americans who fought in World War II including the 21 who were awarded Medals of Honor.

From ALA Cognotes, Monday, June 25, 2012

Northern California APALA Social Announcement

The ALA Annual Conference is over, but still want to see and enjoy company of your fellow APALA members who are in Northern California?

Then join our APALA Northern California Summer Social on Friday, June 29, 2012, at 7pm at the newly-opened, third branch of Enjoy Vegetarian Restaurant. We’ve dined before at the Chinatown location and the food is delicious, reasonably-priced and the company of APALA members.

We’ll order off the menu.

Inaugural APALA Social in Santa Barbara

15 came out for our first Santa Barbara APALA social, on June 7!  It’s what we all call a great success!

The social was held at Zen Yai Thai in downtown Santa Barbara.  The company was inspiring,  food was delicious and spicy, and the weather was perfect  – we couldn’t have asked for more! The first Thursday of the month was chosen for the celebration of arts, culture, social activism and entertainment that we could all partake in after dinner.

Special thanks to Katrina and her husband for driving out 70 miles (all the way from Santa Maria) to meet us! Angela donated lovely terrariums for door prizes and Kristen lead our art walk up State Street, where we cheered on the Bike Moves parade.

There will be a short write up in the next APALA newsletter and a picture or two will be included.

Have ideas for future socials? Know a good karaoke spot? Any topics you’d like to cover? Let us know!

Look forward to seeing your smiling faces at the next social!

2012 Diversity & Outreach Fair at ALA Annual

APALA will be at the Diversity & Outreach Fair at ALA Annual!

The Fair will be held in the Exhibits Area (Hall A) in the Anaheim Convention Center on Saturday, June 23, from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m.

From ALA.org –

Each year, the ALA Office for Literacy and Outreach Services (OLOS) invites library professionals from all kinds of institutions to submit proposals to participate in the ALA Diversity and Outreach Fair, which is held during ALA’s Annual Conferences.

Generously sponsored by DEMCO, the ALA Diversity and Outreach Fair is an opportunity for libraries and member groups to share their successful diversity and outreach initiatives with ALA Annual Conference attendees, celebrate diversity in America’s libraries and exhibit “diversity in action” ideas.

The Fair highlights library services to underserved or underrepresented communities, including people with disabilities; poor and homeless populations; people of color; English-language learners; gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people; new Americans, new and non-readers; older adults; people living in rural areas; incarcerated people and ex-offenders; and mobile library services and bookmobiles.

Each year’s fair focuses on a special theme based on service to one of these communities. The theme of the 2012 Diversity and Outreach Fair is Building Community Connections. 

Selected presenters will develop and facilitate a poster session to be held during the ALA Annual Conference in the exhibits hall.  In addition, the participants are encouraged to submit, in digital format, information and resources from their program.

« Older Entries Next Entries »