Mes de la Herencia Hispana

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Every year Americans celebrate the histories, cultures, and contributions of American citizens whose heritage is from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, or Central and South America from September 15-October 15. These dates derive from the independence of the Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua from Spain which occurred on September 15, 1821. Mexico also celebrates its independence on September 16th and Chile on September 18th, which falls directly within the dates of Hispanic Heritage Month. The observation of Hispanic heritage began as a week under President Johnson in 1968, before President Reagan expanded it to a month in the year 1988.

As of 2013, approximately 54 million American citizens are Hispanic and the number is expected to rise to 128.8 million by the year 2060. Hispanic Americans are as diverse as the countries they come from. These people have contributed in countless ways in the US by paving the way for other Hispanics to follow and reaching out to participate in the arts, music, political movements, and bring more diversity into the melting pot that is the United States of America. Yet some people are still confused on what being “Hispanic” actually means.

The term is used to describe someone who is or has heritage from a Spanish-speaking country. They’re often viewed as migrant workers, cheap laborers, or non-English speaking individuals and that stereotype couldn’t be more incorrect. Hispanic culture has and always will have a positive effect on American culture. One of the earliest examples of this kind of impact goes back to the formation of the United States of America; Bernardo de Galvez, governor of the Louisiana Territory, sent supplies such as gunpowder, blankets, medicine, and more to the armies of George Washington during the Revolutionary War. Nearly two centuries later, a court-case known as Mendez v. Westminster ruled that segregation of Mexican American children from the public schools system in California was unconstitutional and violated the 14th Amendment. This court-case paved the way for Brown vs Board in 1954.

Official Portrait of Justice Sonia Sotomayor

Official Portrait of Justice Sonia Sotomayor

Another important Hispanic politician is Sonia Sotomayor, who not only was the first Hispanic Supreme Court Justice but also the first Hispanic woman to join the court. On June 26th she was part of the 5-4 ruling that made same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states. But Hispanics have not just impacted our society politically, they’ve contributed culturally through sports, art, music, dance, and food. From Americans singing “Feliz Navidad” every December thanks to Jose Feliciano or Frida Kahlo making statements on the mixing of Mexican-American culture or how salsa would never have developed in New York without its influences from the mambo and cha-cha-cha. Even popular culture celebrities such as Shakiera, Pitbull, Eva Longoria, and George Lopez have made profound impacts in American music, acting, and comedy.

This year, President Obama signed a proclamation in recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month. He encourages Americans to celebrate the profound influences of Hispanic cultures, from marching for social justice with Cesar Chavez to the continued and inspired drive to achieve the American dream of liberty and equality for all. Hispanics are quickly becoming the foundation for the economics, politics, and culture of American society. It’s time for America to acknowledge and respect the contributions of Hispanics. This month gives every American the chance to truly do just that- recognize how important their culture is to our own, how essential our diversity is, and how grateful we should be for the advancements of society by every cultural group.

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If you’re interested in learning more about Hispanic history or culture, you can check out the display located by the printers in Hutchins Library.

Search for books here: http://libraryguides.berea.edu/

Learn more about Hispanic Heritage: http://www.hispanicheritagemonth.gov/http://www.hispanicheritagemonth.org/;

Other interactions: Hispanic Heritage Month QuizSmithsonian on Hispanic Heritage Month

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What on earth are you doing on Earth Day?

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Officially kick-starting an environmental movement in 1970,  Earth Day was a product of the hippie and flower-child culture of the time. Before this movement was underway, the term “environment” was rarely mentioned in the news, discussed, or thought of as an issue. The air pollution from booming industry and automotives filled with leaded gas created a smell in the air that was accepted by Americans to be of prosperity and the American Dream, not of chemicals, sludge, and toxins.

Wisconsin Senator, Gaylord Nelson, proposed Earth Day after witnessing the devastating oil spill in Santa Barbara, California in the year of 1969. Nelson wanted to bring the idea of environmental protection into public consciousness and did so by announcing a “national teach-in on the environment”. In turn, Americans filled streets, auditoriums, everywhere protesting the unintentional deterioration of the environment on April 22nd, 1970. Today, another campaign is spreading through the country regarding clean energy and global warming. There are many ways to encourage ecologically healthy habits and Berea College does just that.

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Luckily for it’s students, Berea is an incredibly eco-friendly place to get an education. Berea was the first in Kentucky to have a LEED-certified building, to build and operate an Ecovillage, and have the most ecologically sound dormitory- Deep Green Residence Hall. Not only do our buildings prove our efforts of sustainability, but the college really attempts to help and encourage students to be as “green” as possible. Throughout campus there are multiple recycling bins, found in buildings, out of doors, and in dorms for students, faculty, and town patrons to use. Buildings contain motion sensor lighting and plumbing to eliminate excessive use of electricity and water. And all people are educated on sustainability and given many opportunities to decrease their carbon footprint. This Earth Day, however, we want to motivate you to go above and beyond.

Knowledge is power and Hutchins Library has a new mini-display up (currently in the Reference section, but will be moved next to the printers) to provide you with intelligence on any subject related to the earth- environmental law, global warming, health effects of the environment, environmental politics, environmental activists, and much more.

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Be sure to get involved with Earth Day somehow! Research it. Recycle more. Volunteer. Walk more, drive less. Eat local. Go to a festival. Practice the 7Rs (Reuse, repurpose, rot, repair, return, refill, refuse). Organize an event in the community. Change a habit. Help launch a community garden. Communicate your priorities to our elected representatives. Do something nice for the Earth, have fun, meet new people, and make a difference. But you needn’t wait for April 22! Earth Day is Every Day. Committing to the earth year round is the only way to make a huge difference.

To find books about the earth search our catalog: http://libraryguides.berea.edu/

Women’s History Month: Celebrating Women Writers

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Beginning as simply a “Women’s History Week” the week of March 7th, 1982, a celebration of women and their accomplishments and contributions developed over 5 years into an annually declared “Women’s History Month” that we honor today. It is a time of the year where women are acknowledged for their political, social, economical, and cultural impacts that may be overlooked in other months. The story of America is one involving every gender, race, and social class. From Sacagawea to Joan of Arc to Susan B Anthony to Florence Nightingale to Harriet Tubman to Annie Oakley to Marie Curie to Georgia O’Keefe to Mother Theresa to Gloria Steinem to Vera Wang to Oprah Winfrey, women from every nook and cranny of the world have been leaders, innovators, challengers to social norms, and more.

This month is not just for the suffragists, the angry feminists who set their undergarments ablaze, the first female politicians to take a particular office, or the pioneering women figures who resisted the patriarch by choosing career paths in typically male-centric fields. This month is just as much for those women whose part in history was to care for men in battle, to raise their children to be upstanding human beings, and to explore the depths of culture through art, music, theatre, and literature. All of these things have had and will continue to have radical impacts on our society today.

Within the library, located by the vending machines, is a display put together of novels written by women authors. While normally seen as just an entertaining pastime, some of these writers have helped question social morality issues and change the world of writing as a whole. Women have been writing since some of the earliest parts of history; for example, Sappho, an Ancient Greek female poet, and Hildegard of Bingen, a medieval mystic and author in a convent.

Then there are early modern authors like Jane Austen whose work combined romantic novels with social realism; Harriet Beecher Stowe, the author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, that openly supported the anti-slavery campaign; Emily Dickinson whose poetry influences modern poetics to this day; Mary Shelley, the author of Frankenstein, who invented the literary genre of science fiction at the young age of 21 years old; Anne Frank whose use of a diary enlightened the world to the reality of hiding from the Gestapo; and Maya Angelou who was one of the first African American women to publicly discuss her personal life in her own published writing.

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In today’s culture, readers can become immersed in popular culture reading such as the Harry Potter series by JK Rowling, Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games trilogy, S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders, Lois Lowry’s The Giver, and Sarah Dessen’s numerous YA love stories. Or they can choose to read books to help bring about social change such as Jodi Picoult’s novels that question our judicial system and bring LGBT issues into the spotlight; Kathryn Stockett’s The Help that exposed the trials African American women had to overcome during the Civil Rights Movement period; and Roxane Gay’s Bad Feminist that contains a series of essays on how she is an imperfect supporter of equality between the genders and how that’s okay.

In recent literary anthologies, 1 female writer is included for every 6 male writers. Reading women writers’ work is useful for everyone, not just to support them, but to understand how women characters in their books and poems actually tell the real story of what it means to be a woman. These characters can directly interact with the reality of womanhood, are simply smart and capable women like Katniss Everdeen, Hermione Granger, and Jo March, or reveal that women are flawed human beings through characters like Amazing Amy in Gone Girl who proves that likable women choose not to always do the right thing. Women writers, past and present, are able to provide readers with dynamic, three-dimensional, and true female characters that can influence how women are depicted in any form of writing by any gender. Of course, female authors are not limited to challenging the gender definitions, but can make other significant contributions too like pushing the limits of narrative as Virginia Woolf does with her nonlinear approach. More and more women have become storytellers, poets and prophets, the authors of dreams and ideas–the voices to whom we listen. Female authors are important simply because women’s voices are integral to the human experience.

This month we commemorate and revere the works of all women writer’s across the span of time. Women have been granted the right to an education, gained the right to vote, entered into the world of sports, served as heads of state, made important scientific discoveries, taken to the skies, outnumbered men in college, and changed the world through their literary voice. All women from each of these categories and others are threads that make up an intricate pattern of history for the world. Be sure to check out the display to find out for yourself.

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Links:

BANC (Library Catlogue) to search for books by or about women writers: http://libraryguides.berea.edu/

For more information about Women’s History Month:

Art History

The next time you are in Hutchins Library, check out the new Art History display, located in the study area to the right of the printers in the Reference Area.

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Reference Student Abby Houston curated this display to share her major as well as to help students know where to find high quality images within our library and online databases.

A lot can be learned by studying art from the past. Art doesn’t just provide us with aesthetic pleasure, but it clues us into the culture that produced it. By studying its materials, iconography, color, symbolism, function, style, and technique, we can expand our knowledge of that culture and learn what role a certain piece of art held within it. Art has been around since the beginning of time and is something that connects all cultures from every time period, even today.

“By looking at what has been done before, we gather knowledge and inspiration that contribute to how we speak, feel, and view the world around us.” – the Metropolitan Museum

This display shows 20 books filled with images and information that can be found in the collection of our library. Some of the books shown above are about: Impressionism, African art, Italian Renaissance art, Pablo Picasso, Celtic art, German Expressionism, Roman art, Egyptian art, Modern Chinese art, and others. Feel free to scan through their pages and experience a wide range of art- you can even check them out!

Whether your major or minor is in art, you simply have an interest in it, you need an image for your paper, or you need to kill some time, this display lays out the kind of resources Hutchins Library has to offer. In the circulating print collection upstairs, there are thousands of books about different art movements, artists, and time periods that all contain high-resolution images you can flip through and look at or scan onto a flash drive to use for your own research. In our A-Z electronic sources list is a database titled “ARTstor” that is dedicated only to images of artworks; ranging from Michelangelo’s David to King Tut’s mask to Japanese prints. To access these images, you type in an artist or title and search.

Check out these art books by searching in our library catalog: http://libraryguides.berea.edu/

Explore ARTstor: http://www.artstor.org/index.shtml

If you’re off campus, use this link and log in with your Berea username and password: http://libraryguides.berea.edu/ARTStor

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