Saturday, February 29, 2020

All About the Armacost Library Undergraduate Research Award (ALURA)

How to WIN MONEY for your RESEARCH from the Armacost Library.
  1. GATHER all materials needed.
  2. EDIT all materials needed.
  3. SUBMIT all materials needed.
  4. WAIT for the results to be announced.

It’s THAT simple.

Okay, maybe not THAT simple.

The Armacost Library Undergraduate Research Award (ALURA) is a research award offered by the Armacost Library for current students at the University of Redlands. This award is given to two winners; one from each of the categories. Students working on capstones and other research projects are encouraged to apply for a chance to fund their projects.

As noted on the website each submission must include a Research Reflection Essay or responses to the STEM Reflection Questions along with the research product. Along with a bibliography or a list of credible sources consulted, a letter of support from the student’s faculty advisor or course professor is required. Once all materials have been prepared, gathered, and finalized, each applicant must submit these items to InSPIRe by the deadline. 

With two categories, this award gives each winner $500 each for their research submissions. If any student is unsure about how they want to approach their project, what part to submit, or the format of how to submit, it is best to ask a Librarian and this can be requested at the Circulation Desk in the Armacost Library. Or by talking to the Librarian of your department or school.

It's important for the Armacost Library to support the community it serves. Without the students, faculty, and the members of the public, the Library would become obsolete. Offering access to information that is highly sought gives the Armacost Library more value and weight in the information community. From the many online databases to the general collection in the library, the Armacost Library wants to promote educational gain and growth for everyone.

Sunday, February 09, 2020

The Marvelous, Misfit Universe of Paul Zindel

This week the Theatre department premieres The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds by Paul Zindel.

Zindel grew up in post-World War II New York City. He and his older sister were raised by their mother after their parents separated when Zindel was a child. Zindel’s mother kept the family together by moving them from apartment to apartment, pursuing various schemes and odd jobs, and renting out rooms to boarders with terminal illnesses. The frequent moves and his mother’s distrustful nature effectively isolated Zindel from others his own age. “I was a misfit growing up,” he recalled. “I had no father at a time that was considered freakish. I couldn’t catch a baseball … I desperately wanted friends and to be liked...” [1]. To make matters worse, Zindel caught tuberculosis when he was fifteen and spent much of the next two years living in a sanitarium, the youngest patient in a hospital full of adults.

By the time Zindel was released and returned to high school, he was fascinated with science and reading plays. “What a great love I had of microcosms,” he recalled, “of peering at other worlds framed and separate from me.” [1] He tried writing a play for a student government fundraiser and successfully provoked a reaction with his “strange sense of humor – macabre, I believe, was the term they used.” [3]

Zindel studied chemistry at Wagner College, but also signed up for a creative writing class taught by playwright Edward Albee and attended professionally produced plays such as Lilian Hellman’s family drama Toys in the Attic. Under Albee’s mentorship, Zindel wrote a play with autobiographical elements, Dimensions of Peacocks, dealing with dementia and mother-child relationships.

After graduating from college, Zindel took day jobs first as a technical writer and then as a high school science teacher while continuing to write plays. His second and third plays closed after a couple of performances, but his fourth play, The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds, changed the course of his career. It was his first play to be produced outside of New York, premiered in 1965 by Houston’s Alley Theatre. Critics grumbled that it had “one of the most discouraging titles yet devised by man,” yet they appreciated Zindel’s command of theme and characterization and likened Gamma Rays to Tennessee Williams’ breakthrough play The Glass Menagerie. [2] No doubt Zindel, who “never missed an opening night of a Tennessee Williams play” in college, appreciated the comparison. [2] The head of the Alley Theatre invited Zindel to become a playwright-in-residence and optioned his next play, allowing Zindel to quit teaching and pursue a career as a playwright. More plays and adaptations of Gamma Rays for television and film soon followed, and Zindel was honored with the 1971 ALA Notable Book Award and Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

By this time, Zindel’s career path had undergone another mutation. When an editor suggested he try writing for children, Zindel talked with teens and “realized fairly quickly that there weren’t many books around that showed teenage protagonists in a modern reality concerned with realistic problems – so I gave it a shot.” [1] Zindel went on to become one of the twentieth century’s most renowned YA authors, never forgetting his own experiences as an awkward misfit striving to find his home in the world. “I know it’s a continuous battle to get through the years between twelve and twenty – an abrasive time,” he explained. “And so I write always from their own point of view.” [1]

Ruth Strickland writes that “Zindel sees himself as a born playwright, and he believes ‘that the seeds of theater are born inside of us.’ While he feels that few playwrights are writing honest plays, he also believes that ‘no one can kill Theater.’ He sees it as a ‘device for survival’ that may experience a drought, but can never be starved out of existence; it will always reemerge.” [2]

Buy tickets for The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds on the University of Redlands website.

Works Cited

[1] Zindel, Paul, and Teri Lesesne. “Humor, Bathos, and Fear: An Interview with Paul Zindel.” Teacher Librarian, vol. 27, no. 2, Dec. 1999, pp. 60–62. Gale Literature Resource Center.

[2] Strickland, Ruth L. “Paul Zindel.” Twentieth-Century American Dramatists, edited by John MacNicholas, Gale, 1981. Gale Literature Resource Center, Gale,

[3] Paul Zindel: Biography by Paul. Accessed 9 Feb. 2020.

Sunday, February 02, 2020

Voting Rights Act of 1965: Then & Now

Okamoto, Yoichi R., “Johnson signs Voting Rights Act,” Digital Public Library of America,

Voting Rights Act of 1965

"An Act to enforce the Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, and for other purposes…Section 2. No voting qualifications or prerequisite to voting, or standard, practice, or procedure shall be imposed or applied by any State or political subdivision to deny or abridge the right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of race or color."

Section 5 of the Act barred states from imposing tests or unfair devices as a means of determining eligibility to vote. 

As soon as enacted, challenges followed suit. But it was the 2013 decision of the Supreme Court on Shelby County v Holder that significantly altered ("defanged federal enforcement of the Act") the Voting Rights Act. This decision removed the "pre-clearance" requirements for states and jurisdictions that have had a history of discrimination in voting practices. Since this decision, states have begun purging voter rolls, enacting voter ID requirements, and redrawing voting districts (racial gerrymandering); all methods of suppressing voter turnout. 

Black Americans continue to lead the fight to maintain and restore voting rights to those under constant threat of disenfranchisement. Representative John Lewis (Georgia) led the fight to reinstate federal oversight of state election law in the House of Representatives in 2019 (although unlikely to see a vote in the Senate). Stacey Abrams's Fair Fight PAC is mobilizing in Georgia and across the U.S. to restore voting rights where voter suppression and election mismanagement is occurring. 

Learn more, available in the Library: