Friday, December 30, 2011

Kickstarting "Take This Book: The People's Library at Occupy Wall Street"

"Take This Book: The People's Library at Occupy Wall Street" is a Kickstarter project to document the eventful history of the library, which evolved quickly in the early days of the Occupy Wall Street movement in NYC (see earlier Common Curator posts: The Occupy Wall Street Library and The Destruction of the People's Library).

Author Melissa Gira Grant describes the project as follows:
This is one story of the People's Library at Occupy Wall Street, as told to me by many of the librarians behind it: how the library began, what happened after the November 15 raid on Zuccotti Park, and why they're rebuilding. It's a story about books, danger, and freedom.

Take This Book is an extended essay -- just over 10,000 words -- based on the stories of the librarians and the library's patrons. (Maybe you were one of them.) It can't be the whole story, because it's still happening.

If successful in reaching her fundraising goal, Grant intends to publish both an ebook and print version of her essay. For further details, or to contribute, visit the Kickstarter website.

Note: The poster shown here was designed by the artist Molly Crabapple, and is being offered as a premium for supporters of the project.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Peace Corps at 50

Founded in 1961, the Peace Corps marked its fiftieth anniversary this year. The idea for the organization was first expressed by then-Senator John F. Kennedy during an early morning speech on October 14, 1960 at the University of Michigan while campaigning for the presidency. On March 1, 1961, shortly after his inauguration, Kennedy officially established the Peace Corps on a temporary pilot basis through Executive Order 10924.

The Peace Corps has as its mission three goals:
1. Helping the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women;
2. Helping promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served;
3. Helping promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans.
In June 1961, Peace Corps Director Sargent Shriver announced that the agency had received around 11,000 completed applications, and on August 30, 1961, the first group of 51 Peace Corps Volunteers (PCV) arrived in Ghana to serve as teachers. Since then over 200,000 Volunteers have served in 139 countries, and currently over 9,000 Volunteers are at work in 76 different countries. Major project areas are education, health and HIV/AIDS, business development, the environment, youth development, and agriculture. The average age of Volunteers is 28, although 7% are over 50.

To learn more about the Peace Corps, an interactive timeline features important dates, events, and videos from 1961 to the present. The Peace Corps Digital Library also contains many historical documents contributed by current and returned Volunteers and Staff. In the summer of 2011, the Smithsonian Folklife Festival commemorated the Peace Corps with a special festival program.

For those considering volunteering, visit the Peace Corps website for information on the application process.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

National Film Registry Adds 25 Films for 2011

Established by the National Film Preservation Act of 1988, the National Film Preservation Board is an advisory body for the Librarian of Congress. The Board helps shape national film preservation planning policy, and also recommends films for the National Film Registry, including 25 additional films just named for 2011. Chosen for their cultural, historic, or aesthetic significance, this year's selections cover a wide gamut of genres and time periods, from The Cry of the Children and A Cure for Pokeritis in 1912 to Forrest Gump in 1994.

The public is encouraged to make nominations for selections to the 2012 National Film Registry.

Forrest Gump (1994)
El Mariachi (1992)
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Stand and Deliver (1988)
Fake Fruit Factory (1986)

Norma Rae (1979)
I, an Actress (1977)
Hester Street (1975)
A Computer Animated Hand (1972)
Growing Up Female (1971)

Faces (1968)
Crisis: Behind A Presidential Commitment (1963)
Allures (1961)

Porgy and Bess (1959)
The Big Heat (1953)
War of the Worlds (1953)

The Lost Weekend (1945)
The Negro Soldier (1944)
Bambi (1942)

Nicholas Brothers Family Home Movies (1930s-40s)
Twentieth Century (1934)

The Iron Horse (1924)
The Kid (1921)

The Cry of the Children (1912)
A Cure for Pokeritis (1912)

Further information on the Registry as well as the films themselves can be found on the Library of Congress' web site. All 500+ films selected for the Registry since 1989 can also be browsed online.

In other news about the registry, These Amazing Shadows, a documentary about the National Film Registry and its cultural significance since its inception, will air nationally on the PBS series "Independent Lens" on Thursday, Dec. 29, at 10 p.m (check local listings).

Newest Wapsipinicon Almanac Hot Off the Press

The latest annual installment of the eclectic Wapsipinicon Almanac is now available. Published and letterpress printed since 1988 by Timothy Fay of Route 3 Press, the present issue, as with previous numbers, features an engaging mix of essays, reviews, fiction, poetry, art, wit and wisdom. For those in the vicinity, Fay will be giving readings from the almanac in Iowa City, Cedar Falls, and Dubuque during January 2012.

Number 18 can be purchased directly by writing the publisher at Wapsipinicon Almanac, 19948 Shooting Star Road, Anamosa, Iowa 52205. Single copies are $8, plus $2.50 for postage; Iowa residents should also include 56-cents for sales tax.

The cover shown here is based on an drawing by Anamosa artist Dolores Chadwell. Previous covers and contents pages, as well as a brief history of the Almanac, can be viewed at the Almanac's website.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

North Carolina Master Gardener License Plates

On June 30, 2011, North Carolina Governor Perdue signed House Bill 289 which authorizes the production of a special Master Gardener license plate. The Department of Motor Vehicles requires a minimum of 300 paid applications before it will begin manufacture of the new plate. As of November 17, the North Carolina Master Gardener Volunteer Association (NCMGVA) reports that 131 orders have been received.

The plates cost $20 more per year than regular plates, $10 of which will be donated to the North Carolina Master Gardener Endowment maintained by NCSU's North Carolina Agricultural Foundation. For an additional $30 annually (for a total of $50 per year), the special plates can be personalized. Visit the NCMGVA website to download an application form.

2012 Seed Savers Exchange Catalog

Founded in 1975 by Diane Ott Whealy and Kent Whealy, Seed Savers Exchange (SSE) is now the largest non-governmental seed bank of its kind in the United States. With over 13,000 members, SSE conserves and maintains heirloom seeds for thousands of vegetables, fruits, herbs, and flowers. Its mission is:
. . . to save North America's diverse, but endangered, garden heritage for future generations by building a network of people committed to collecting, conserving and sharing heirloom seeds and plants, while educating people about the value of genetic and cultural diversity.
Located on the 890-acre Heritage Farm in Decorah, Iowa, SSE is open to visitors from April to October, and sponsors special events such as seed starting, grafting, and gardening workshops. It also hosts an annual conference and campout. To learn more about Seed Savers Exchange and the benefits of membership, visit its website.

The mesmerizing 2012 Catalog can be viewed online, downloaded as a PDF, or a free copy in print can be requested. Also of interest is the recently published book by co-founder Diane Ott Whealy, Gathering: Memoir of a Seed Saver.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

World AIDS Day 2011: Getting to Zero

World AIDS Day has been observed annually on December 1st since 1988 and has served to increase international awareness in the campaign against HIV and AIDS. More than 25 million people are estimated to have died from AIDS from 1981 to 2007, with an estimated 34 million infected with HIV at the end of 2010, an increase of 17% from 2001.

Two important organizations working to prevent and treat AIDS and HIV infection are UNAIDS (the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS) and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

To date, the Global Fund has committed $22.6 billion in 150 countries for large scale programs to combat all three diseases. At the end of 2010, UNAIDS launched its 2011-2015 Strategy: Getting to Zero, which is available for download. The World AIDS Day Report 2011 is also available online.