The County Library has been hosting it’s Access Program in the Museum. Once an month books and internet are publicly available for a town that has no library. We continue a public exchange library the rest of the time. Though without a copy of the Hunger Games, how can we call ourselves a proper library? I think the most recent title is from Thomas Thompson (who past away in 1982). I donated some Margret Atwood and a new copy of Jobs Interview Skills 101. I encourage everyone that I meet to donate whatever current titles they can bear to part with. We can do better for the residence of Ocotillo.
As a new unofficial branch of the library, we are encouraged to take part in Cal Hum’s California Reads! It’s a state wide reading program that includes public interviews with the authors. Last month we read Lost City Radio by 35 year old Peruvian-American Daniel Alarcon. He was on the New Yorker’s 20 Promising Writers Under 40 list in 2010. This week he was in El Centro (just down the road, 26 miles). Daniel was articulate, intelligent, and interesting – all at once!
Lost City Radio was more an intellectual exercise on developing humanistic themes and experimenting with time in written literature rather than a romping good read. I confess I thought the interview would be dry and serious, but this is a young man just developing his voice. He thinks very seriously about his work, but is still a young kid at heart. I look forward to seeing more from this author, and for the next book in the Reads! program. If there is more of this ahead then I’m happy to participate. I should have trusted the system and stifled my skepticism. The County Librarian here is phenomenal.
While the CalHum team was in town, they hosted a meeting for their California Story Fund. They haven’t had applications from Imperial County for a several years. I’d just explained that I’m a curator at the museum and am supposed to focus on that task – I’m not supposed to be committing to write another grant – but the museum is happy to be a partner on any projects. How can we be sitting at the table with people saying “please please apply” and not respond? I looked at the other 3 people in the meeting and challenged them to commit to applying next year. The County Librarian looked back at me and said “I’m swamped, but I have a couple of ideas for you”.
The next day the President & CEO of Cal Humanities, who had introduced the interview, wandered into the museum on his way back to San Diego. I told him he’d be hearing from us soon. Looks like it’s going to be us applying next year.