Never Again: Japanese American WWII History and American Muslim Rights Today

Seventy-five years ago, approximately 7,000 Seattleites were ordered by the U.S. military to leave their homes and sent to incarceration camps. Most ended up at desolate Minidoka in southern Idaho. President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066, signed on February 19, 1942, two months after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, forcibly evacuated 120,000 Japanese Americans living on the Pacific Coast to one of ten concentration camps scattered across the country, where they would remain imprisoned for the duration of World War II until 1945.

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Minidoka War Relocation Center in 1943

Originally citing national security as justification, the government later admitted that the evacuations were unjust and “carried out without adequate security reasons.” Following a successful campaign for redress and reparations, President Ronald Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, officially apologizing on behalf of the United States government. In the act Congress called the incarcerations a “grave injustice,” which was “motivated largely by racial prejudice, wartime hysteria, and a failure of political leadership.”

The Seattle organization Densho has been working hard, through its online archives and oral histories, to tell the story of Japanese American incarceration in order to educate the public not only about the past, but to also shed light on issues of equity today, including the racism and harassment currently experienced by American Muslims. To observe the 75th anniversary of Executive Order 9066, the Library will co-host the event, Never Again: Japanese American WWII History and American Muslim Rights Today at Seattle Center’s Fisher Pavilion with speakers from Densho, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, and the ACLU of Washington this Sunday, February 19 at 2:00 P.M.

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The Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience is also marking this anniversary with its new exhibit, Year of Remembrance: Glimpses of a Forever Foreigner, which runs February 16, 2017 to February 11, 2018. It, too, will explore past and present issues of discrimination and human rights. Check out this booklist and resource guide, created by the Nisei Veterans Committee, the Wing Luke Museum, and staff at The Seattle Public Library’s International District/Chinatown Branch to accompany the exhibit.

     – Posted by Heather M.

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For the Love of Data: An Open Data Release

lovedatascienceBack in the spring of 2012, Book 1 of the Fifty Shades trilogy did something for the first and last time at SPL—the physical copy circulated more copies than the e-book version.  Over the next three years, the e-book version had over 500 circs per quarter. Meanwhile, by early 2014, circulation of the physical book dropped to fewer than 100 per quarter. Continue reading

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Now More Than Ever, Reading is Power

This book you are now reading is a manifesto of sorts–my manifesto, a manifesto for readers. Because I think we need to read and to be readers now more than ever.

Every January I struggle to decide what I want to read. Do I catch up on what I missed the previous year, or do I read classics I’ve missed? Should I focus on new, enticing books just coming out, or read some topical nonfiction I’ve been putting off? I spend much of the month picking up and putting things down, casting about for the book or author that speaks to my mood. 2017 has created its own special reading vacuum, what with the upheaval in these United States, so I was pleasantly surprised when the book that provided the most balm and sustenance for me right now was a book about reading books. Continue reading

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This Valentine’s Day, Use Your Words!

What truly says “I love you” to your Valentine? A fancy dinner out? Good luck getting a table, or avoiding romantic indigestion as you navigate the desperate crush of other romance seekers. A box of chocolates? Hardly original, and not exactly helpful with our New Year’s resolutions. Do diamonds speak louder than words? Nope – not even close:

          Not marble, nor the gilded monuments
          Of princes shall outlive this powerful rhyme…

sonnetsWhen it comes to expressing your feelings, use your words. Or… borrow someone else’s! For millennia poets have spilled out their hearts on papyrus, parchment and paper, and into the air itself. From Sappho to Shakespeare, Ovid to Neruda, Elizabeth Barrett Browning to Mary Oliver, our shelves groan, sigh and sing with love’s burden, heavy as the heaviest heart, lighter than air. Here’s a list of just some of the books at your library packed with moving love poetry from all over the world, and all throughout the ages. Continue reading

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Working the Room: Making Space to Create

A place to think, to spread out, to collect one’s thoughts and work through ideas.  An environment where inspirations are realized, this is necessary to the creative process.  It can be a dining table doing double duty, the corner of a room, space in an attic or basement, but make space.  However you have to make it happen, make it happen. The place that gives you room to work is essential to an artistic practice.

If home is not an option, get creative! Consider use of limited-opportunity spaces such as in a workshop, sharing space or renting.  Work when you can as often as you can. The most important goal, however, is to have a dedicated space in which to see an idea grow. Writers have it easier than other disciplines since they can carry their “office” anywhere.  For those whose practice depends on objects or a place to get physical, locating and securing workspace is an ongoing enterprise.  SpaceFinder Seattle is an excellent place to begin your search. Continue reading

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Immigration and the Refugee Experience Presented in Comics for Kids and Young Adults

Comics can be an effective gateway toward empathy and understanding. Both fiction and non-fiction comics can help the reader visualize and develop context for a wide variety of human experience. Here are a few comics which may help younger readers learn about the lives and experiences of refugees and immigrants. Continue reading

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Lisa Kron’s Well at Seattle Repertory Theatre

Seattle Repertory Theatre presents Well by Lisa Kron from February 10 to March 5, 2017. 

How does an adult child care for a chronically ill parent? Lisa Kron’s Well explores her complicated and loving relationship with her mother, as well as community activism and the nature of illness—all through the lens of deconstructed theatre Continue reading

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