Yosemite National Park is 2.5-3 hours from where I live. I know, I’m pretty lucky, but I don’t go very often. Before this past Friday, the last time I went was in 2009!
UC Merced is the closest university to Yosemite National Park. The university does some research at the park and also has a partnership with the park for the Yosemite Leadership Program. In the spring, before I actually began working at the UC Merced Library, the park’s librarian, Virginia Sanchez, visited the library for input on modernizing the park’s library. It was a reciprocal visit, so we got to visit the Yosemite Research Library last Friday!
We toured the library and museum at the park, and we also visited the archives, which are located off-site. I had no idea how varied the collections are in Yosemite–baskets, dry and wet specimen, photographs, books, paintings and other artwork, etc. I was also glad to learn that the park works with the seven federally recognized native groups from the area, as well as some of the unrecognized native groups.
The library is at the very top of the park’s museum. It’s a small space that is in need of modernization in order to make the collections more accessible. The library is currently working on moving to the Library of Congress Classification system. There are some cabinets that need to be cleaned out, some items that need to be stored properly, and there are some things that would make great candidates to be digitized and put online. There is actually a campaign going on right now to raise money to modernize the library.
This year, the national park system turned 100, and Yosemite celebrated 90 years as a park. There is a treasure trove of materials waiting to be discovered by a wider audience. I think this is definitely a worthy cause.
This isn’t a library post, but we librarians sure love our communities—the ones we work with and the ones we live in.
With Thanksgiving and the Christmas season around the corner, I have a lot on my mind, but not parties, presents, and pleasantries. I have been thinking about people in distress in my local community and about the Syrian refugee crisis and what we can do to help. (Even before the American backlash after the Paris attack, I followed the refugee story. A few years ago, I read The Story of My Life: An Afghan Girl on the Other Side of the Sky, and I became very interested in refugees around the world. )
My husband and I are very big proponent of giving our finances and time. For both college and graduate school, I received scholarships from donors, so I give to both my alma maters, California State University Stanislaus (I also work here part-time) and San José State University, and I also give to the community college I work for, Merced College. I don’t talk about this much, but we also give to our church, Crossroads Church, so that we can help carry out the work to assist people in need. We also give to the Modesto Gospel Mission, a local homeless shelter, and to Second Harvest Foodbank of San Joaquin and Stanislaus Counties. And if my bio says NPR listener, you bet I give to Capital Public Radio. We also do various one-time donations for issues that come up throughout the year.
Regarding the refugee situation, I wanted to highlight World Relief Modesto, another organization we donate to. World Relief helps resettle refugees that are placed in Modesto. My first encounter with World Relief was actually seeing them in action in the community when I was working part-time at my local library, Stanislaus County Library. A World Relief volunteer was showing an Ethiopian man the public library. I was so impacted that I, at one point, applied for a job with World Relief. I didn’t get the job, mostly because they knew how much I loved libraries. I really believe in the work they do. If you can give to a similar organization in your area, please do!
What causes, charities, or other groups do you donate your time or finances to? What issues are close to your heart? Besides libraries, of course.