A Spanglish blog dedicated to the works, ruminations, and mongrel pyrotechnics of Yago S. Cura, an Argentine-American poet, translator, publisher & futbol cretin. Yago publishes Hinchas de Poesia, an online literary journal, & is the sole proprietor of Hinchas Press.

Monday, March 30, 2009


I couldn't catch the game on Saturday night but I heard it was live. Tecnico Narcissas told me today that this was a winnable game so the prestige of winning it is not too high. Tecnico Narcissas told me that Argentina will have to be judged against the monsters of Europe and, of course, Brazil.

Sunday, March 29, 2009


State budget negotiations are near completion and a final deal could be reached by this weekend. Library Advocates need to remind their Legislators and the Governor to restore the proposed $18 million or 18% cut in Library Aid.

Please go to the New York Library Association Online Advocacy Center and send a fax/email to your legislators to remind them not to forget about their commitments to restore Library Aid. If these cuts go through, Library Aid will be reduced to $80.5 million a level not seen since 1993.

* Library usage has skyrocketed across the state and nation. Now is not the time to cut public services that are in the greatest demand and needed the most.
* Libraries have already been cut twice last year, we have contributed our share, now it is time for others to do their part to solve the state's budget deficit.

Please forward this message to your friends, colleagues, trustees, etc. We need to send at least 5,000 messages over the next few days.

Please go to the New York Library Association Online Advocacy Center and take action now!

Thanks for being receptive to receiving these messages, and for your support!


Michael J. Borges
Executive Director
New York Library Association
6021 State Farm Road
Guilderland, New York 12084

Friday, March 27, 2009



The 80's were all about assimilation. The dominant racial metaphor asked us to consider our country a giant stew, and to consider ourselves little morsels of ethnic singularity within that stew. That is, we could be potatoes if we wanted, but the carrots and the celery had just as many rights to be in the stew as well. In addition, if we were all alike and were going to be melted down and agglutinated into a giant stew, then what difference do ethnic features matter?

If we are all going to be stew, why should you worry about what ingredient you are or once were? The problem with this analogy is that to make stew you need stock, and the stock is all about hegemony; the stock represents the sameness in our stew. It's kind of like the reason a hamburger from McDonald's tastes the same in Buenos Aires than it does in Bangalore; McDonald's stock overrides the minute differences that the regional restaurants can muster.

In this same way, the stock of America comes from the Western, Anglo world and despite the variety of ingredients that comprise the stew: you will always be able to taste the stock. So, maybe assimilation means always having to subjugate the stew taste in lieu of the stock taste because the stock taste is what has always held stews together. Or maybe it means always having to taste the stock.

Parish and Katz (1991) operate their book, Multicultural Acquisitions, under the assumption that, "There is a growing demand for libraries to provide multicultural materials and services" (pg. 4); but, they also remind librarians whom use this resource to be wary, "the assumed benefits of certain targeted efforts should be examined closely" (pg. 4). More importantly, the position presented in the book is that, "public libraries have a responsibility to maintain a neutral position in response to social issues while at the same time providing services and materials appropriate to the community they serve" (pg. 4) In other words, Parish and Katz want the user of their book to understand that libraries should stay away from taking a position on a social issue, but that they have a professional obligation to provide services and materials in an appropriate way to the users of the library, and the communities they represent.

Parish and Katz explain the history of community outreach to get a better understanding of why multicultural acquisitions is so fraught with pitfalls, "It is commonly felt that early immigration from Europe assimilated into this country with relative ease while blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans and Asians have been to varying degree less successful" (pg. 5) Could minority non-whites have been less successful in assimilating Americanness because they have been intentionally left out of library programming and needs assessments? Edwin S. Clay in the October-December 2006 issue of Virginia Libraries writes, "Libraries in the 1920s contributed pamphlets written by library personnel in native languages describing community rules and laws, prevailing wages, cost of living, health codes, and other information" (page 11).

Obviously there is a tradition in libraries for outreach, particularly towards non-Americans and newly arrived immigrants. So, why all the commotion now? What is so different about the new crop of immigrants that makes servicing multicultural populations so controversial? Parish and Katz explain, "During the 1930s and 1940s libraries began to place less emphasis upon programs for immigrants. McMullen suggest three possible reasons for this...First, immigrants who arrived in American just before or after WWII were able to take advantage of programs already in place and as a result assimilated without any great difficulty. Second, the number of immigrants had already reached its peak. Finally, "Americanization" was no longer regarded as primary to the successful absorption of people from other countries. At the same time, the black civil rights movement began to take hold" (1991, 6).


I don't have time to read all of Arthur Schlesinger's book, The Disuniting of America (1991); I have been able to skim over the lines of the his book and skip around like a kid with textual ADHD. The reason I don't really have to read Schlesinger's book (although he widely published and an old hickory sort of professor at Harvard?) is because his arguments are still being touted by Americans.

Schlesinger's argument is really not too hard to grasp. It goes something like this: immigrants have always had to put a premium on their larger identity as Americans than on their ethnic and sovereign pasts. What this means is that even though the U.S. is a country of immigrants, the immigrants that have come here have always striven to learn English and become more American because of that. The recent crop of immigrants to the U.S. are different because they are being allowed to quagmire in their past ethnic, political, and national allegiances; the current ethos of multiculturalism encourages immigrants to entrench themselves in enclaves and not have to either amp-up their Americanness by learning English, or become a productive, visible, and empirical member of assimilated American society.

And because Schlesinger's argument comes from the coffers of Harvard's elitist yet liberal scholarship, and because Schlesinger has had a storied past in politics, specifically with his tenure in the Kennedy administration, his argument has been picked up and disseminated and has become a thorn in the side of multiculturalism. It begs multiculturalism to ask itself if there is a marked difference between the immigrants that have come in the last 20 years, and the immigrants that have always been coming to our shores (including Africans that were sold as slaves here and other forms of slavery or indentured labor, i.e. Chinese and railroads?--well according to Schlesinger, those probably wouldn't qualify as Americans).

What are the fundamental difference between the immigrants that have been coming to this country forever and the latest batch. What are the characteristics of these new, staunch immigrants, the ones that refuse to meld into the tapestry? What have the newest batch of immigrants done to deserve the spotlight? How are they different from the immigrants that came here during the last large migration in the late fifty years of the 20th Century?

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Lisa M. Dezarn's article, "The Challenge of Latino Immigration for the Rural Library," published in the 2008 (vol. 11. no. 1) Bookmobile Outreach Services journal is an extremely comprehensive article. It contains a lit review on the major brains in this debate: Stephen Huntington, Enrique Krauze, and Julia Stephens. And Dezarn's article goes a long way to couching the meat of the argument in a format that is easy to digest. The crux of the article can be found in the abstract; it deals with the "charged national debate" transpiring in many rural communities about the "influx of newly arrived immigrants" due to "active recruitment in Latin America by many rural-based industries" (2008, 25)
Dezarn begins the article talking about two of these nationally charged instances where American were up in arms over libraries in rural communities allotting monies in their operating budgets to acquire Spanish language books. In Lewisburg, Tennessee, "concerning $130 and five shelves allocated for Spanish-language books" (2008, 25) and in Gwinett Country, Georgia there was severe backlash after residents "feared that their tax dollars might be benefiting illegal immigrants, the library board eliminated funding for adult fiction in Spanish [and] fired the library director whose collection policy was favorable towards such acquisitions" (2008, 25).
I don't agree that taxpayer money should go towards the education of people who pay no taxes, however, more often than not Americans assume that Latinos who don't speak the Queen's Standard Englishare automatically illegal, and this is a nuanced form of racism (or indirect, etc.). Illegal immigrants are those who have either overstayed their visas or slipped unnoticed into the country. Once inside the U.S., illegal immigrants often get by with forged papers like social security numbers, and rarely get deported back to their countries if they walk the straight and narrow, meaning don't get arrested or caught up in the courts.
Rural America, I understand your anger, "According to the Casey Institute Report on Rural America, endeavors of local institutions to accommodate recent immigrants anger many other residents who believe that Latino are 'catered' to, thus shortchanging nonminority citizens" (2008, 26). But, what you might not understand is that libraries have been trained to not make the types of distinctions that
many rural denizens are making. For example, the American Library Association has come up with very defined Guidelines for the Development and Promotion of Multilingual Collections and Services (2007).
What this means is that, for librarians, acquiring materials has little to do with the language the books use. For example, guideline 2.0 states that "[librarians should] provide an effective, balanced, and substantial collection for each ethnic, cultural, or linguistic group in the community" and "Purchase materials in the languages, dialects, etc. of the group served" (2008, "Guidelines"). Therefore, our job is to get books into the hands of people, not decide what people and what hands based on the language of the book; more importantly, we are hard-wired to perform this service and it would take a librarian listening to her politics more than her professional ethos for her to silence this impulse.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


The prevalent thought in libraries has been that multicultural titles are thrust upon the populace mostly during Black History month or Latino Heritage moon, or Latvian Appreciation week; during the "regular" year, though, titles that reflect "our" shared history (meaning white) are the ones we push.

So, sure Dan Brown or Stephen King all year round. But, Donald Goines or Baldwin, wait until February. In the same token, it took Gary Soto having to write children's books for his works to be read outside of Latino audiences. The same can be said about Rodriguez. I have a feeling that Hunger of Memory was so embraced by Americans because it argues against teaching American children anything but American English. I have never read Hunger of Memory, this is just wild and obscene conjecture. But, you get my point.

Therefore, Henry Louis Gates or Richard Rodriguez, we care about what you write, but not until the calendar gods and our p.c. gods can agree on an arbitrary month wherein your works are "celebrated," and read and appreciated. The other 11 months, we pretend that your bounty is non-existent.

But is that really what is in our best interest as a people? Are we supposed to revel in our diversity only up to the point that it is useful as a perennial salve on the wounds of inequality that race conjures? Or, can we make a clean break from the charade of political correctness and learn to rely on the works coming from minority voices in minority works.

Race is always a trick subject in this country. But, we will continue to spin our wheels if we don't manage to get some traction, a modicum of perspective and genuine dialogue, nay curiosity, about minorities, their stories and scholarship. The now is filled with promises about racial integrity and the slaying of segregation, but if we allow the political correctness to abound and allow feigned consolations of diversity to continue, our country might never recover from it's past.

Where do we stand since 2006 on multicultural acquisitions? In "The Case for Inclusive Multicultural Collections in the School Library" by Rochelle Arsenault and Penny Brown that appeared in the California School Library Association's Journal in the Fall of 2007, both librarians agree that "culturally reflective fiction and nonfiction books should be celebrated every day, not only during relevant events" (2007, pg.20). More importantly, they argue that, "Through reading about people from all cultures, students can gain an appreciation for their own cultures. They can realize that despite our differences there is a basic sameness to life, which is slightly altered, but not basically changed, across ethnic lines" (2007, pg. 20).

I betcha right now you are wondering how silly the idea is that we share a "basic sameness" really is when for so long we were being taught that we have to celebrate our differences. In addition, it might seem pretty crazy to be a morsel in the melting pot or a cherry tomatoe in the race salad when people keep talking about being samerific, insipid, and bland. Well, that's because the metaphors that we use to talk about race have also morphed. Notice that no one talks about the human race-stew that comprised American in the late 80's. That's because the updated metaphor asks Americans to look at race as a product of multiculturalism. We have moved towards a basic sameness that is comprised of all our differences.

Monday, March 23, 2009


The City University of New York has a series of Information Competence Tutorials that distill the investigative process of research.

It is commonly accepted that there are seven integrated steps you complete when you conduct research; for example, Cornell University Library's, "Research Strategy: 7 Steps"(based on Micheal Engle's study at Cornell).

C.U.N.Y.'s Turorials page has eight, which means the last step is C.U.N.Y.'s take on what usually gets left out. And that is, "Use, Evaluate, and Treat Critically Information Received From the Mass Media" (2009, "Information"). This is usually lumped in under evaluating information, but C.U.N.Y.'s take ensures that burgeoning researchers also scrutinize elements of the intravenous mass media that we are forced to endure, like the skewed cable news networks like MSNBC, FOX, and CNN.

In fact, the eight step makes a nice segue for one of Infomation Literacy's hallmarks which is life-long learning and an ageless skepticism. The eight step covers issues like Gatekeepers, or "a person or persons who control the flow of information" (2009, "Gatekeepers") which tells of the media's reluctance to report on Roosevelt's struggle with Polio because the country was in political and economic turmoil and needed the image of a physically strong figure head.

The subject "Target Audience" reminds students, "Remember, the MEDIA in the United States are comprised of individual business corporations and their aim is to make a profit. To do so, they must entice the public to buy, consume, or watch their products." (2009, "Target Audience"). The Target Audience tab also reminds students that to arrive at the target audience of a magazine, you must look at the advertisements.

The color of the tutorial is a calm, sedate blue; the links are clean and clearly deliberated upon. In other words, there is a keen attention to organization, continuity, and linear thought. And therein may lie the problem. The "lessons" progress as the user clicks the next button; this allows the user to learn at their own speed, but it also begs the question to whether this process could be sped up or turned into a video or mpeg. This media can also be stopped and started, but it moves faster and all students relate well to images; although, to be fair, the Tutorial page does have images that accompany all their explanations. The viewer is not left to fend for themselves in a soup of text.

Likewise, the font is silly or arcane or anything but legible and sophisticated. Maybe too sophisticated. You know, when I look at a page, I like to feel that the creator of that page went out of their way to ensure that I can read the font. I am sure many older people share the same sentiment. In other words, I don't think it ever hurts to do more with less; in the case of C.U.N.Y.'s Tutorial page, I would say that no harm would be done by making the font a little bigger. That's one of the things I love about Cornell's page. A 7 year old or a 70 year old could use that page, and it is obvious that the creator took this into account.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


According to Grassian and Kaplowitz in Information Literacy Instruction (2001), when planning an Information Literacy Instruction program, "The first step is to find out what your population needs to know" (2001, 133) It is the "heart of the active mode process" (2001, 132).

In many ways you are like an infantryman gathering reconaissance, or an intelligent manager taking the temperature of a system; the important thing is that students realize that needs assessment springs from a very proactive part of the librarian imagination.

Needs Assessments don't have to be terribly complex interactions, "watching reference desk interactions or the behavior of users in the library can give you a good idea of what is needed" (Grassian and Kaplowitz, 2001, 133). Therefore, there are formal and informal needs assessments. Formal assessments are things like "surveys, interviews, focus group meetings, document analysis, usability studies, and so on" (Grassian and Kaplowitz, 2001, 133). Informal assessments can be as simple as noting observations about patron/employee interactions at the reference desk, etc.

Knowing what patrons should know might be the more difficult information to ascertain, especially at a public library because educational levels at public library vary greatly. You can't ensure that every patron walking through the doors has the same educational threshold or attainment as the next patron; at a public library the range of education varies as much as it does on a subway car or in cue at the security line at LaGuardia, etc.

You will want to know what your patrons should know how to do and cross that with the skills you yourself would like to teach the patrons. If patrons don't need a particular that skill or it is too complex an idea to teach in four to six classes, then maybe the instructor shouldn't teach that skill, etc.

In addition, Grassian and Kaplowitz believe that, "Basic to the Needs Assessment process is developing a clear and complete understanding of the characteristics of your population" (2001, 133). You can also obtain demographic information from government agencies like the Census Bureau. Moreover, this represents the two first steps in the needs assessments planning process: "1.) Recognizing the user need 2.) Describe and Analyze the present situation for resources"(2001, 132).

The next thing you should do is establish instructional goals and objectives. What is the difference you ask between the two. "Goals describe the overall intent of the program in broad, general strokes. They describe what you would like to accomplish. They are general education priorities and are frequently stated as global abstractions" (Grassian and Kaplowitz, 2001, 136). An objective, on the other hand, "indicates what the student is expected to do, under what circumstances the behavior is to be exhibited, and how well the behavior myst be performed" (Grassian and Kaplowitz,2001, 137). In other words, "the objective describes the end product. Outcomes are how the students exhibit that they got there and include criteria for determining how well they succeeded" (Grassian and Kaplowitz, 2001, 137).


Grassian, E & Kaplowitz, J. (2001). Information Literacy Instruction. Neal-Schuman Publishers,Inc: New York.



Thesis: It is important for the C.U.N.Y. libraries at Hunter, City, Brooklyn, and Queens to cultivate their collections of Latino Poesis titles, so that they may better service the Creative Writing programs housed at the respective schools.

I. What is Latino Poesis? Why is a sense of what is made important to those who make? Why must Latino Creative Writing graduate students read the works of Latinos making literature?

*Start with Plato’s Republic and its definition of Poesis, Book X (I think?)
*Latino Poesis refers to the literature that has been “made” by Latino poets and fictionists, and collected by editors in anthologies. Latino Poesis are titles which showcase the stories and language of the Latino community.
*Latino community is diverse; the sense of diaspora is strong, especially within enclaves and regions. Latinos have been decreed one people by U.S. Census Bureau, but there are wild variances in race, politics, and education that greatly distinguish the different ethnicities within the Latino community.
*MFA is the new MBA according to Daniel Pink, therefore, for Latino graduate students to remain competitive in tomorrow’s economy, they must have interaction with examples, samplars, prototypes of the literature that defines the community.
*Aside from that, emulation is an important part of making literature. Latino Poesis involves capturing the everyday reality, the quotidian, for the sake of posterity?
*Language is an important part of Latino Poesis. Titles could be seen as the evolution of a genre, or the annals of literature of a community, therefore, code-switching is important because in the worst case scenario it is records of the degeneration (of English and Spanish) and in the best case scenario it is a Polaroid of where the dialect spoken by Latinos is heading.

II. What is code-switching? What might make a writer feel that they can switch languages, mid-thought? How prevalent is code-switching in Latino literature? Might there be biases against texts published in America that use Spanglish, or amalgam of Spanish and English?

*Code-switching is when you meld two distinct languages to captivate a specific audience that knows both languages with varying degrees of intimacy and proficiency. The most common example of code-switching is the dialect of Spanglish which employs the phrases of Spanish and English in a syntax that is neither English nor Spanish.
*According to Lourdes Torres in MELUS, “Code-switching is not only metaphorical, but represents a reality where segments of the population are living between cultures and language; literary language actualizes the discourse of the border and bilingual/bicultural communities”
*According to Eva Mendieta-Lombardo and Zaida Cintron in Theoretical Linguistics, “The use of the vernacular becomes critical for the writer who attempts to construct an image of a cultural group and to reach out to that specific readership”; in addition, they say that in texts where code-switching is employed, the “text becomes a social document, a reflection of social reality”.
*Code-switching is a pointed political statement about the type of literature one writes; in many ways, it is a protest against the canon perhaps, as well as, since canons are responsible for integrating a community’s literature.

III. What is the history and reputation of the C.U.N.Y. Creative Writing programs? Can we make inferences about the program based on trends in enrollment? What is the make-up of CUNY grad student enrollment by race? From 2005 to 2007 did the enrollment of Latino grad students at the four schools which have an MFA program go up or down? Which schools have been able to maintain or increase their enrollment of Latino grad students?

*History of the MFA program in Creative Writing can be traced back to…
*Faculty are important, contemporary, popular: Billy Collins, Kimiko Hahn, Alan Ginsberg in the 80’s at Brooklyn, Day of the Poet at Brooklyn College, and City...
* New York has always had a thriving literary culture. Many of the titles suggested by RCL were published at a time when minorities assumed a militant ethnicity in response to Anglo hegemony. The Nuyorican movement with Alargin.

IV. What resources exist for suggesting titles for academic libraries? Does Resources for College Libraries provide solid advice for Latino Poesis acquisitions? What other resources exist for acquiring titles dealing with Latino Poesis?
*Tess Tobin of REFORMA Northeast chapter. What she thinks about
*Sarah Aponte and Harvest of Empire’s perceived slight against Dominicans in NYC; Aponte’s help with suggestions,etc.
*Centro PR and their weigh-in on the matter, regarding the strength of their collection and how having a library and an archive is better than just a library,etc.

V. How well do the libraries at the respective colleges hold up to titles suggested by Resources for College Libraries? What percentage of titles does C.U.N.Y. possess? What collections have higher proportions of Latino Poesis titles, especially titles suggested by Resources for College Libraries?

*RCL is unique collaboration between Choice and Bowker, Inc.; it has been acting as core list since 1968 when UC librarians at New Colleges program opened 3 new campuses.
*Queens College has lowest percentages of RCL reccs. under Latino Studies; Hunter has the highest, which may be due to support provided by Centro PR. Lowest percentage of reccs. that all schools have is under Chicano/a Literature which may have to due with lower NYC Mexican-American migration rates.
*Might the Dominican Archive located at City college help to give students greater access to Latino Poesis titles?
*Interview with Sarah Aponte at Domincan Archives and librarian at Centro PR.

VI. The numbers of Latino grad students enrolled at C.U.N.Y. schools declined between 2005 and 2007 at Hunter, Brooklyn, and Queens. The numbers have slightly increased at City College. Might lack of resources, especially those on Latino Poesis, propel students to not apply to the M.F.A. programs at Hunter, City, Brooklyn, and Queens?

VII. How well does the Centro PR service the needs of Latino student writers with their collection? Does the Centro PR positively reinforce Hunter’s collection on Latino Poesis, or does Hunter rely on Centro to provide the Latino Poesis titles to the detriment of its collection?

Saturday, March 21, 2009


The A.C.R.L. hands down decrees, educational programs, and the results of comprehensive studies as a way of informucating its constituents, members, adulants (rah libraries!). In 2000, A.C.R.L. dropped the Information Literacy Competency Standards, which was followed shortly by 2001's Objectives for Information Literacy Instruction. Both programs are watershed documents of the Histoire General concerning Academic Libraries foray into Information Literacy in the U.S; both come together like Voltron, or like the atria and ventricles of each member of the 36 chambered Wu Tang Pantheon, or like double-A batteries in a walkman (what the fuck is a walkman).

The Objectives are like the innards of the Competency Standards (CS), and the CS act as a hull for the work that goes on in teaching the Objectives. It's all very modular and logical and you can tell that a lot of time was put into both Information Literacy programs. The A.C.R.L. writes that, "The Competency Standards are the basis for the IS Objectives and it is recommended that the two documents be used together. The IS Objectives flesh out and make more specific the Standards, Performance Indicators, and Outcomes of the Competency Standards” (2008, "Objectives..."). The CS came before the Objectives, that is why it is useful to plan using both: the CS provide a framework with which to pursue individual Objectives.

A.C.R.L. writes that, "one or two objectives may be employed in a 50-minute 'one-shot' class and a related assignment. A librarian working with an instructor to develop a course that infuses information literacy instruction into its content may select several objectives. An information technology staff person may collaborate with a librarian to incorporate some of the objectives into campus IT workshops. Many or all of the objectives may be adopted in a comprehensive program of instruction for information literacy or in a Web-based tutorial. Thus the IS Objectives may be used in part or whole. They expand upon the Competency Standards" (2008, "Objectives...")

Another way of looking at it might be to say that the CS are behaviors that librarians perform consciously, as conductors of Information; the Objectives are the teachable moments I capitalize on every time I sit down with a student and teach them the advantages of controlled vocabulary searches over keyword searches, or ask them to infer/deduce/rank the records that a database retrieves, or show them how to cut a large portion of text and paste it into another document using quick keys, or explain the difference between .com,.org,and .edu, or the difference between http, https, and www. To the intrepid librarian who would like to use these documents in a concrete, non-theoretical way, I advise the following fast-food praxis, only to be performed with drive-thru gusto.

The first thing I would do if I were going to devise a program for instruction of Information Literacy is hone in on two Competency Standards I think will solve my Information Need. Then, I would pick at least two Objectives from each of the Standards and write a lesson plan; this would give me at least four lesson plans which you can teach in "one-shot" (2008, "Objectives...")lessons, or compact the four into two, etc. What I am advocating is that Information Literacy instructors take advantage of the modular nature of the CS and Objectives. Last, I would assess the result of my instruction using the CS as criteria because they are the overarching, general, benchmarks/hallmarks/landmarks while the Objectives are the surgical, arterial, microscopic.

Friday, March 20, 2009


Thesis: Graduate Latino/a Creative Writing students at Hunter, City, Brooklyn, and Queens would greatly benefit from an increase in Latino Studies' books.

Statement: The numbers of Latino grad students at Hunter, Brooklyn, and Queens has been decreasing steadily since 2005; the numbers of Latino grad students at City has increased slightly since 2005.

Statement: Hunter's catalog contains higher numbers of titles suggested by Resources for College Libraries under Latino Studies; this may have to do with the impact of the Centro PR Archive housed at Hunter.

Statement: There might be an ancillary interest in funding the Dominican Archive at City, especially if the numbers of Latina/o graduate students has increased while it had decreased at the other three schools.

Statement: Latino writers, especially those investing in an education on the craft, require repeated interaction with titles written by Latinas/os so that they may more easily join in the dialogue present in the diaspora.

Statement: A library focusing on one aspect of the Latino Diaspora (i.e. just carrying Chicano or Puerto Rican poetry) can not say it has adequately represented Latinas/os.

Statement: Artisans of the word should be able to consult the bounty of books produced by any community.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


I was raised Catholic. What this means is that I was baptized and went to sunday school and learned all about the Catholic faith because I was forced by my parents. Then, one day, they asked us if we thought that our family should continue going to church as a unit; in other words, they polled us emotionally to determine whether or not they needed to keep up the protocols they had inculcated us with. I think of this as the first time my sister and I realized our parent's awesomeness quotient.

Now, I am a spiritual person but I also feel that organized religion does more evil than good. I keep this opinion to myself and only brandish it when the people I am speaking with think they might be able to convert me back into the fold. However, there are many great things to take away from religions. For example, I love how in the Jewish faith textual interpretation is not only an important skill but a means to get closer to god. I think this helps the community as a whole to become adept at making meaning from text; it also makes for great debaters, interpreters, and manipulators of the written word.

In regards to the Catholic church, I will be eternally grateful for the commitment to community that the Catholic church has instilled in me. And, I have completed several volunteer jobs since having renounced Catholicism, and have worked tirelessly in my community to better the educational attainment of minority high school kids. However, the fact that I am not a Catholic means that I can look at actions taken by the Catholic church and determine whether I agree with them or not. And, I would like to be very clear on this point; it is my belief that the Pope is an asshole. I don't mean it in the metaphorical way; I mean it in the literal sense, as in everything that comes out of Ratzinger's mouth is crap.

A CNN article dated March 17th, 2009 states that, "Pope Benedict XVI refused Wednesday to soften the Vatican's ban on condom use as he arrived in Africa for his first visit to the continent as pope" (par 1.) Now, I understand that the ideology of the Catholic church prohibits them from advocating condom use over abstinence, but it even prohibits condom use for married couples (even if one of the partners is infected with HIV). The same article states that "more than 22 million people in sub-Saharan Africa are infected with HIV, according to a 2008 UNAIDS/WHO report. In addition, "Nine out of 10 children with HIV in the world live in the region, which has 11.4 million orphans because of AIDS, the report said, and 1.5 million people there died of the disease in 2007". (par. 5)

It seems unconscionable that Ratzinger can not push aside his ideology and let a little of his humanity out. I understand that this is not how it is in the Catholic world; I understand that the glue that holds a faith together is all of the tenets and protocols that have been passed down from one generation to another. However, this situation is powderkeg and the Catholic church is pretending that matches don't exist. I had a similar beef with Egan when he was bishop of NYC and got his panties in a ruffle after the NYC/DOE decided that passing out condoms in high schools was a good idea. However, a study conducted by the Advocates for Youth, found that "69 percent [of parents] stated that students should have access to condoms in school" (1995, Guttmacher et al).

So is the Catholic church saying that it know better than parents what should be done with children. And, in a broader sense, is Ratzinger saying that he knows what is best for Africa? Only an asshole would make such assumptions, I guess. More importantly, I am an asshole as well for being so inflammatory and prodding the zealous to respond in an inflammatory way, however, drastic times call for drastic measures and happily will I call myself an asshole if the asshole Pope realizes what an exit chute of poop him, his ideology, and his church really are.

(March 17, 2009). Pope visits Africa, reaffirms ban on condoms. CNN, Retrieved March 18, 2009, from http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/africa/03/17/cameroon.pope/

Guttmacher S, Lieberman L, Ward D, et. al. Parents' attitudes and beliefs about HIV/AIDS prevention with condom availability in New York City public high schools. J Sch Health 1995;65:101-106.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


In the 2007 Resources for College Libraries, Latino Studies comprises four taxonomies: "Anthologies," "Chicano/a Literature," "Other Latino/a Literatures," and "Poetry."

Then, the titles in each of these taxonomies were checked against records in the C.U.N.Y.+ catalog, ascertaining specifically whether or not the title could be accessed at four specific libraries: Hunter, City College, Brooklyn, and Queens.

The idea being that Latino MFA students should have access to a great deal of books about the literature of Latino people. The idea also being to question the decreasing rates of Latino Master's students at prominent senior colleges in the C.U.N.Y. system. The idea being that I can hopefully a correlation between the holdings of four particular libraries and an increase in Latino Studies materials in the catalog of those four particular schools.

I also need to show particular, empirical data, so here it goes.

The taxonomy, "Latino Anthologies" contains 34 entries. Hunter College had the highest amounts of books with 25, City College had 18 of the 34, Brooklyn had 19 out of 34, and Queens had 9 out of the 34. What this means is that Hunter had the highest proportion of materials suggested by Resources for College Libraries for "Anthologies" in 2007.

The taxonomy, "Chicano/a Literature" contains 35 entries. Hunter College had the highest amounts of books with 19, City College only had 8 out of 35, Brooklyn had 11 out of 35, and Queens had 8 out of 35 as well. What this means is that Hunter had the highest numbers of books suggested by Resources for College Libraries for "Chicano/a Literature" in 2007.

The taxonomy, "Other Latino Literature" contains 91 entries. Hunter College had the higest amounts of books with 73 out of 91, City College had 47 out of 91, Brooklyn had slightly higher amounts with 52 out of 91, and Queens had a little over one-third with30 out of 91. What this means is that Hunter had the highest numbers of books suggested by Resources for College Libraries for "Other Latino Literature" in 2007.

The taxonomy, "Poetry" contains 29 entries. Hunter College had the higest amounts of books with 23 out of 91, City College had 5 out of 29, Brooklyn had slightly more than double with 13 out of 29, and Queens had a little under City with a paltry 4 out of 29. What this means is that Hunter had the highest numbers of books suggested by Resources for College Libraries for "Poetry" in 2007.


Last night, the Panda and I went to a house party in Spanish Harlem (103rd and Lex). Two of the kids that live in that house work with my Panda at her high school in the Bronx. The parties are always awesome and have a healthy mix of young professionals from similar suburban backgrounds; however, I almost always inevitably make up the people of color entourage (P.O.C). This is not a problem for me because ever since I moved out of Miami and moved to the northeast, I have always made up the P.O.C. at integrated parties.

The theory is as follows. For spontaneous dancing to transpire at an Anglo-dominant party, at least one-third of the people at said party have to be of "color," meaning octaroons, high-yellows, mulatos. If this proportion is not achieved, there will be no dancing at your party. Even if the people of color at your party are one-fifth of the population of that party, dancing will not spontaneously transpire unless a full third of the party is people of color. I have tried this hypothesis out at various parties, but this is the first time I have gotten almost identitical results.

The playlist doesn't make a difference because at both parties James Brown was playing, and the "shuffle" mode was strictly playing the extent of their James Brown. And, the importance of James Brown is that he is the link to that "American" sound that first made white youth want to openly dance to black music. Even if you play James Brown, if the persuasion of the party is not at least one-third people of color, then it is almost empirically impossible to get that party to break out in spontaneous dance.

Thursday, March 12, 2009



MASS PROTEST AGAINST PRODUCTION BY SCABS: Wednesday March 11, 3-6pm; In front of Stella D'Oro Bakery-237th St. and Broadway (#1 Train to 238th)

The company refuses to negotiate with Local 50 and wants to:
• Slash wages by 25%
• Raise premiums on health insurance
• Eliminate holidays, vacations, sick pay, pension
• Eliminate extra pay for working Saturdays


For more information: 917-497-4231 vze2jmhr@verizon.net
sponsored by Committee in Support of Stella D'Oro Strikers

Read the Socialist Worker article here

Read the Daily News article here

Read the Local 50's blog here

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Today in my Info Literacy class at Queens College we were introduced to the Cornell University Library's website tutorials. I brought it up in class that an article that I had used on the paper I turned in today also had seven steps. When I asked my professor about this discrepancy and suggested that the authors of the article I used had ripped off the idea from Cornell, my professor said that it was commonly accepted fact that the process (research) takes from six to seven steps. I found the online tutorials and the ancillary web pages that emanate from the index page of the 7 Steps of the Research Process to be quite helpful, even for a person about to finish a degree in Library Science. Check it out and let me know what you think because I would like to use this website at my job at Bronx Community College as a checklist for students that are conducting research themselves.

Monday, March 9, 2009


Dear Sir/Madam

My name is Yago Cura and I am a gradute student in the Library and Information Science program at Queens College. In addition, I possess an MFA in Creative Writing with a concentration in Poetry from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

For my thesis, I am analyzing the C.U.N.Y.+ catalog to determine whether it has a proportional amount of materials on Latino literature to Latino students.

More importantly, I am interested in ascertaining how the acquisition of Latino Poetry books would help aspiring Latino poets in the M.F.A. programs at Hunter, Brooklyn, City, and Queens Colleges.

I have been able to procure graduate enrollment rates by Race/Ethnicity from the materials supplied by the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment, but could use the departmental data on Race/Ethnicity that your program office has collected to arrive at very specific numbers.

This level of specificity will benefit my research and your programs because utlimately the better the library's collection of Latino Poetry, the better your students will be serviced. I am writing today to enlist your help in this process.

Thank You,

Yago Cura

Monday, March 2, 2009


Anosh Irani's review of Maximum City in The Globe and Mail calls Mehta's book, an "autopsy of a city that is morally dead" (2004, par. 2), a "gem" (Irani,2004, par. 8), and "a brilliant examination" (Irani, 2004, par. 2). In fact, all the reviewers allude to the noirish nature of Mehta's book. Akash Kapur subtitles his review in the N.Y. Times Book Review, Bombay Confidential(alluding to crime novels, and perhaps the movie L.A. Confidential) and Adam Hochschild writing in Harper's titles his review, UNDERWORLD, all in caps. A great part of Mehta's book centers on his dealings with underworld elements, like power-mad politicians (Shiv Sena's Bal Thackeray), movie stars (Sanjay Dutt), a bar dancer (Monalisa), gangsters, and Bombay's top cop on anti-terrorism (Ajay). In addition, Mehta's descriptions are precise literary renditions. Akash Kapur likens Mehta's writing to "Dicken's London" (Kapur, 2004, par. 3) while Adam Hoschild writes that "Mehta's eye on Bombay remind me of no one's so much as Balzac's on Paris" (Hochschild, 2005, par. 2).
While none of the reviewers comment on what type of libraries should carry Mehta's book, the book covers subjects that lie under the artifice of writing a book about Bombay's transition into Mumbai. For example, Mehta is a screenplay writer with credits for Mission Kashmir (2000) and a Merchant Ivory movie starring Tina Turner called The Goddess (2007, Suketu); and, part of Mehta's book chronicles his dealings with the Bollywood system as a writer and as a researcher. Therefore, it would be an easy leap to make the argument that Mehta's book would be just at home in an academic library as a special media library used by film producers and archivists, especially those pertaining working with Bollywood and East Asian film making. In addition, Mehta's book could just as easily be accessioned into a literature collection with a Victorian bent or specializing on Writers and the Cities they inhabit.

Hochschild, A. (2005). UNDERWORLD. Harper's, 94, Retrieved February 28, 2009, from http://vnweb.hwwilsonweb.com/hww/results/results_single_ftPES.jhtml

Irani, A. (October 23, 2004). Autopsy for Bombay. The Globe and Mail, Retrieved February 28, 2009, from http://www.theglobeandmail.com/

Kapur, A. (November 21, 2004). 'Maximum City': Bombay Confidential. The New York Times Book Review, Retrieved February 28, 2009, from http://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/21/books/review/21KAPURL/html

(2007). Suketu Mehta. Retrieved March 3, 2009, from http://www.suketumehta.com/ Web site: http://www.suketumehta.com/about.html


In terms of morality, objectionable characters, and corrupting influences, the most innocuous of the three books discussed in this essay is Steven Johnson's Everything Bad is Good for You (2005). Yet, the idea at its core, that playing video games and watching the "boob tube" is actually making us smarter, might seem more seedy to most parents. Smarter in the sense that playing video games requires that you use the scientific method to navigate a sequence of levels; smarter in the sense that Johnson compares the plots and narrative trajectories of several popular 70's shows, like The Love Boat, Starsky and Hutch, and Fantasy Island, to the plot lines of several current television shows like The Sopranos and landmark shows from the 80's like Hill Street Blues. What he finds is that despite the glaze-over look that seems to be embossed on the faces of gamers, there is actually some thinking going on in gamers' heads. Johnson explains that gaming actually requires a keen, dynamic mind that is willing to explore, investigate, and "read" physical cues embedded in a virtual realm; he makes it seem that playing video games are calisthenics for the mind.
According to the Library Journal review done on Everything, Johnson is a "Discovery magazine columnist" that has penned a "fascinating" book whose premise is simple: "contemporary culture is intellectually demanding, honing complex mental skills and encouraging well-reasoned decisions on the basis of available information" (Wood, 2005, pg.108). Library Journal</span> "Highly" recommends Johnson's book for "both public and academic libraries", but not until the reviewer (Suzanne Wood) has mentioned that Johnson draws on "research in neuroscience, literary theory, and economics" to make his arguments, substantiating Library Journal's zealous appraisal. The Journal might have us believe that Johnson's authored a tome of deliberate genius, but Walter Kirn of the N.Y. Times Book Review, sees gratuitous holes in many of Johnson's arguments.
Kirner commences by attacking Johnson's credentials as a scientist, implying that he really only has the credentials of a magazine correspondent, not a bona fide Doctor of Science. Kirner then downgrades Johnson's acumen to that of a junior research intern by writing that, "Johnson's argument isn't strictly scientific, relying on hypotheses and tests, but more observational and impressionistic" (Kirn, 2005, par. 3). Earlier in the review,though, Kirner calls Johnson's Everything an "elegant polemic" and calls Johnson himself a "cross-disciplinary thinker who has written about neuroscience, media studies and computer technology" (Kirner, 2005, par. 2). But the blow below the belt is when Kirner castigates Johnson by correcting him like a ruffled marm with the admonition that "Stimulation is not a virtue all by itself" It all reeks of feigned critical duress because in the end Kirn makes the whole thing about teaching an old dog, like Kirn, new tricks and Kirn states it plainly, "The old dogs won't be able to rest as easily, though, once they've read Everything Bad Is Good For You"
Tim Madigan's review of Everything in the Journal of Popular Culture is more evenhanded. Madigan understands that Johnson's book is not a textbook, but that it makes for riveting Reference reading. Madigan and Kirin both seem to question Johnson's research methods and particular inferences that Johnson makes, but it is Woods and Madigan that mention Johnson's current credentials (Wood credits his Discovery credentials while Madigan mentions the Wired quasi-column). Madigan has specific problems with Johnson's contention that "IQ scores have been increasing steadily over the past few decades, and that this could be correlated to changes in our 'mental diets'"(Madigan, 2006, par. 2), but he can still manage to suggest that Johnson's book could be put to great use in a Popular Culture Collection, "by drawing connections with the latest findings in cognitive development and brain research, Johnson has opened up a new venue for advocates of popular culture to explore" (Madigan, 2006).


Kirn, W. (May 22, 2005). 'Everything Bad is Good for You: The Couch Potato Path to a Higher IQ.. The New York Times Book Review, Retrieved February 28,2009, from http://tv.nytimes.com/2005/05/22/books/review/22KIRNL.html

Madigan, T. (2006). [Everything Bad Is Good For You]. Journal of Popular Culture, 39,no. 6, Retrieved February 28,2008, from http://libraries.cuny.edu/resource.htm/Wilson_Web

Wood, S. (April 15,2005). Johnson, Steven. Everything Bad Is Good For You: How Today's Popular Culture Is Acutally Making Us Smarter.. The New York Times Book Review, 130, no.7, Retrieved February 28,2009, from http://tv.nytimes.com/2005/05/22/books/review/22KIRNL.html