The 2016 Elections: Library Resources

The mission of The Seattle Public Library is to bring people, information and ideas together to enrich lives and build community. We value equality, inclusion and openness and strive to be welcoming safe spaces. No matter what the current events are locally and beyond, the Library provides a collection of materials to patrons of all ages, backgrounds, and opinions. Over the last few weeks, library staff have answered many people’s questions about the recent elections and helped them with finding information. Below you will find some lists created by librarians at The Seattle Public Library to address topics we’ve been asked a lot about lately.

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Immigration from the Tops of Trains

By Richard C.

Click here to view Enrique's Journey in the SPL catalogEnrique’s Journey
By Sonia Nazario

I remember so vividly the beginning of Moby Dick when Ishmael says “…whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul… then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can.” The full quote is truly golden. Like Ishmael, whenever I have a similar drizzly feeling – lately about the news – I make my way to the library.

Recently doing so, I found Pulitzer winner Sonia Nazario’s Enrique’s Journey: The True Story of a Boy Determined to Reunite With His Mother. Enrique is a sixteen year old boy in Honduras who sets out to find his mother who’s working in the United States. From the tops of trains to run-ins with criminals, crooked cops, and other perils I can hardly imagine, Enrique’s story humanizes a topic that, while not new at all, is so currently notable in the news today. An updated version of the story adapted for young people is now available, too.

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Immigration in your Family’s History

It’s not Ellis Island, or Angel Island, or even Castle Garden, but this graceful brick and stone building on Airport Way in south Seattle was the beginning of an American life for thousands of immigrants for more than 70 years.

The former Immigration and Naturalization Services building was built in 1932, replacing a dockside processing office.  The building is on the National Register of Historic Places, a recognition of its role in the detention of Chinese immigrants in the early 20th century and as a holding place for illegal immigrants more recently.  The building is empty and quiet now but the descendants of its former clients can research their family’s history at the Library.

There are many guides to researching your immigrant ancestors in the Library’s Genealogy collection. 

They became Americans: finding naturalization records and ethnic origins,
by Loretto Dennis Szucs

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