Category Archives: Union City Library

Asian Art Museum @ Union City Library


The Presentation Celebrates the 50th Anniversary of


Please join us for a multimedia talk  by Asian Art Museum.

During the Summer of Love, flowers became powerful symbols of peace, a concept plucked from Buddhist art. More than merely decorative, floral

imagery has helped convey ideas from the refined to the revolutionary for thousands of years.


The Library is  wheelchair accessible. An ASL  interpreter will be provided for this program if

requested at least 7 days in advance.. Voice 510-745-1464, TDD 888-663-0660

Aggie Brenneman is and educator with interest in Asia. She lived in India, Nepal and Malaysia for more than a decade. Where she worked for Peace Corps, taught in the International School of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and also trained in the classical dance of South India, Bharata Natyam.

Aggie holds a Masters Degree in Education (Multi-cultural Curriculum Development) from Michigan State University. She taught ancient civilizations in Par Day Middle School in Oakland for 25 years. After retiring for classroom teaching in 2006, Aggie has been working as a consultant for BATTI, TEACHER, AND DIRECTOR OF JER DD, Bay Area Teachers Training Institute. She is also a performer, teacher, and director of her dance school, The Bala Center for South Indian Classical Dance. Since 2011,she has been a volunteer docent at the SF Asian Art Museum, and truly enjoys sharing the art of this great institution,

Leave a comment

Filed under Events, Uncategorized, Union City Library

Write Your Story…Prompts

CHILDHOOD MEMORY                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

by Vanessa Mason/Library Member

“You are going to hate school!”  I can still hear my sister’s voice.  She was one year older and had started kindergarten the previous year.  My own first day of school was rapidly approaching.


She painted a scary picture of the school experience.  But this was only her perspective and somehow I realized this and it brought me comfort.  “Don’t get Miss Benson.  She is mean.”  How did she know?  She didn’t have Miss Benson as her teacher.  She had Miss Fox.  Oh well, my first day was here and I knew that from this day forward, my life would be different.


I was the youngest of six and all my siblings were already situated in elementary school and junior high.  I vaguely remember entering the school building with my mother.  But at some point, she disappeared and I found myself sharing a large room with several other children.  I don’t remember their faces.  The only face I do remember is the teacher’s.  Finally, I was able to put a face to her name.  Yes, I got Miss. Benson.


She was old and somewhat stern, but I stayed out of her way so I never experienced the wrath that my sister spoke of.  Maybe she exaggerated.  I hoped that was the case.  I got through the first day of school.  It felt like a great achievement…the first down payment on a lifelong investment.  That’s how it felt to me.


When I got home, all I could say over and over was, “I love school?!  Amazing that I can remember saying this.  Maybe I do because it so sharply contradicted my sister’s warning.  I did love school from that first day of kindergarten to this present day.


by Dennis Smith/Library Member

I just found out what that is, I had never heard the term before.  It is a list of things you want to do before you die.

I had never considered making such a list and am not sure what I would put on it.  Hopefully I will have time to compile and complete a very long list.

There are a lot of places I would like to go, but probably won’t.  There are a ton of things I would like to do, but most are not really important.

I suppose I would be happy with one noteworthy thing, something people might remember.




by  Terry Connelly / Library Member

My mom was not a great storyteller. She didn’t read books or magazines or even the daily newspaper. She did watch television news, but only those stories that weren’t about war or killing.
There was one death that intrigued her, that of Princess Diana. For some reason, the tragedy of her death touched my mom.
I think she saw in Diana heritage lost. A genetic pool which would not be carried on. And that was important to my mom.
From the time I was a little girl, my mom bragged about her Native American roots, although she did not use that term. According to my mom, almost everything she did could be attributed to her being “Indian.”
She loved bread because she was Indian. She tanned easily because she was Indian. Her hair did not turn gray and she did not wrinkle because of….
The foods she fixed were, according to her, based on her Indian roots. Her rhubarb pie was a good example, as well as her apple dumplings and fried chicken.
When pressured, she could not name the relative from whom her heritage came. She believed it was from her great-great-great grandmother on her mother’s side, but that person had no name or place of birth.
No matter the lack of concrete evidence, I believed her. I loved the idea of being part Native American, no matter how tiny that part was in reality.
When I was in fourth grade I discovered that the nonfiction part of the library held a treasure trove of information on Native American tribes from all over the country. One by one I devoured the books, looking for any similarities between my mother and a specific tribe.
When I read about the Shawnee, a tribe that lived in the same Ohio region where I did, I was elated. Here was my connection to the past. My heritage that I could pass on to my children and grandchildren.
I drew out a map of their homeland, memorized Shawnee terms, dreamt about their foods, and romanticized their lifestyle.
When looking at old black and white photos of the Shawnee people, I saw a clear resemblance in my mother’s face. Satisfied, I grew up believing that I was part Shawnee.
Well into my twenties I attended my first pow-wow, something in the keening of the songs and the pounding of the drums resonated deep within me. I felt a kinship that I had never felt before, and I really wanted to join in the dance. Until I realized how very white I was compared to all the other dancers.
I have been continued to be intrigued by all things Native American. Several years ago I began collecting artifacts. None of them have any historical value, but I love the dolls, the vases, the baskets and the jewelry. I have enough stuff that it fills an entire cabinet and enough black and white prints of old photos that my walls are covered.
My daughter began researching our genealogy several years ago. As she delved into the past, she was unable to locate a single relative that appeared to be Native American. This was disappointing in so many ways!
Over a year ago she asked me to submit a DNA sample for study. Because I was still interested in finding the familial link, I did so.
A few weeks later the results came in. I have zero percent Native American heritage! This was a disappointing discovery.
It destroyed my beliefs about who I was. It meant that all those years of reading and dreaming were wasted. It also meant that there was no truth behind my mother’s stories, which was devastating.
I hated losing that part of me because it was ingrained by sixty years of believing.
Sometimes I wish that I had not done the DNA test. If I hadn’t, I could continue to naively believe that I was Native American. However, even though I lost a huge part of what I saw as my link to distant peoples, I am glad that I did the test.
It is better to know the truth than to be spreading falsities.

Write Your Story @ Union City Library

Join our library group, headed by Bruce Hasse, for an   informal gathering of aspiring writers of all types of genres. Your writing can be memoirs, creative non-fiction, poetry, song lyrics, science fiction, plays,essays, you name it!  We just want to hear what you have written and support each other as we grow as writers.

Third Tuesday of the Month:   September 19 , October 17  , AND NOVEMBER  21                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1 p.m. — 3 p.m.


Leave a comment

Filed under Union City Library

Write Your Story…DNA

“Al & Bill’s DNA”
a plausible fiction by Bruce Haase – library member
July 2017
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Twin brothers are not totally the same, sometimes they can even be different looking. Not only that, but their personalities can be very different too. Take Al & Bill for example…

At the big family Thanksgiving gathering last year, Al was once again pontificating about how proud he was to be 100% of Austrian / German decent. He believed that his genetic background made him naturally a bit better than most. His twin brother Bill, and the rest of the family poo-pooed that entire idea. Alice, a relative by marriage asked, “How do you know what you are? Have you had a DNA test done?”

That remark led to Al & Bill getting their DNA tested at different labs. At the family gathering, on St. Patrick’s day weekend, the results were opened and announced to all.

Surprisingly the two labs gave almost identical results. It turned out the twins were only about 46% Austrian/German, they were around 48% French, Polish, English, Italian, Balkan, Palestinian, Mediterranean North African and Spanish. The rest was Scandinavian and Mongolian, and other, with even 0.4% Neanderthal mixed in.

Bill was thrilled to be such a mixture and was telling everyone present little stories he quickly made up, about how centuries before these various genes became mixed into the stew that had became the Bill of today. He couldn’t wait to tell everyone he knew that he was only 0.4% Neanderthal, and 1.8% of his blood came from a powerful Viking Warrior King who had spread his seed for a thousand miles into hundreds of villages on the banks of central and eastern European rivers. Bill regaled the diners with an impromptu Viking War Dance. He looked like a fool, hooting and hollering, hopping around with gravy and mustard all over his laughing face. Shouting about Swedish Meatballs, Volvos, Saabs, and skijumping, which was all the Scandinavian that he knew.

Al, on the other hand, was quiet and withdrawn. When he finally spoke, he complained that this whole DNA testing thing was a scam, and scientists were a bunch of BS-ing con men that will make up anything to make a buck. He was furious to have been accused of having any blood in him that came from Mongolia or Palestine or Northern Africa… He opened his shirt and ordered everyone to look at his white and pure skin. Al defied anyone to see a speck of non-Austrian/German coloring there. He yelled at Bill, “What is wrong with you? You’re proud to be the offspring of Viking Rapists and murdering Mongol Hoards? You must have lost your mind!”

Al’s wife Debbie, told the gathering, “Oh just ignore Al, his Neanderthal side is taking control today.”

The table cracked up with that, even Al had to laugh.

It’s remarkable how different twins can be, even though, Al & Bill are twins, they’re not identical twins.

Write Your Story @ Union City Library

Join our library group, headed by Bruce Hasse, for an   informal gathering of aspiring writers of all types of genres. Your writing can be memoirs, creative non-fiction, poetry, song lyrics, science fiction, plays,essays, you name it!  We just want to hear what you have written and support each other as we grow as writers.

Third Tuesday of the Month: August 15,  September 19 , and  October 17                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   1 p.m. — 3 p.m.

Leave a comment

Filed under Events, Union City Library

Become a US Citizen @ Union City Library

Saturday August 12, 2017, 1-4 pm &  Saturday, August 26, 2017, 1-4pm
Free Citizenship Application Assistance


Citizenship is the best defense against anti-immigrant policies Saturday,


CALL (510) 465-9876



Get free assistance with:

• Benefits of naturalization

• Step-by-step review of the naturalization process

•Assessment of your eligibility to naturalize

• If eligible, assistance with application preparation

• Information about fee waiver

Documents to bring

1 copy of your green card (front and back) List of employers and their addresses and/or schools you attended for the past 5 years, including start and end dates List ALL your trips out of the U.S. including departure and return dates. • If you are currently married: spouse’s full name, date of birth, green card A#, date and place of naturalization, and current address Information about all your marriages and about all of your current spouse’s prior marriages, including date of marriage, date the marriage ended, how marriage ended. If you have children : their full name, dates of birth, green card A#, and address Documentation of all arrests and/or convictions, including reason for the arrest, date, place, and outcome/disposition. BRING ALL arrest and court documents, even if the charges were dropped Application Filing Fee : $725 check or money order, payable to “Department of Homeland Security” (If 75 years or older, $640 only)

Leave a comment

Filed under Events, News, Union City Library

Winning Resume Workshop


Winning Resume

What makes a good resume

Tuesday August 8, 2017

 1:30 to 3:00 p.m.

       Presented by the Tri-cities One-Stop Career Center 

For more information contact:  (510) 745-1464

for materials on resume writing check here

Leave a comment

Filed under Events, Links, Reading, Union City Library

Write Your Story…DNA

DNA Manipulation – A Love Story

Submitted by Patricia Eng , Union City Library member

When I was a kid, I remember watching Lola Falana on a talk show.  She was a Vegas-type entertainer who was popular in the 70’s.  She spoke extensively about choosing a husband to maximize the physical beauty of her children.  Even at age 8, with my crooked teeth and glasses, I thought that was silly and shallow.

While I was in college, I took an anthropology class that required us to read a book called The Selfish Gene. It said something about how we are compelled to make life choices to assure that our genes survive and multiply.  My classmates and I were skeptical and joked about how our genes decided who was hot.  I laughed as I adjusted my glasses, my retainer wire shining as I smiled.

At the age of 28, I was single and starting to feel the bloom of youth fading.  My friend Jinah and I drove down to L.A. seeking adventure and escape from dead end jobs and relationships.  We ended up at a Korean boarding house that she found in the newspaper.  The main house had a communal living room and a kitchen where a huge pot of soup sat on the stove and rice stayed warm in a restaurant sized rice cooker.  When you opened the refrig

erator, a deliciously pungent aroma of garlic and kimchee smacked you in the face.

There were four cozy bedrooms in the main house.  We stayed in one of three make-shift rooms in a converted in-law apartment in the back yard.  The other inhabitants were a mixture of business people and secretive wanderers.  I was the only one who didn’t speak Korean.

One day, Jinah and I were lounging in the living room when a new boarder arrived.  I was immediately attracted to him.  Kwang-Min had big brown eyes and perfectly aligned teeth.  Later I found out he had 20/20 vision.  He was in America seeking business opportunit

ies.  Little did he know that he would find a new life…with me.

It’s been over 20 years since we met.  Our daughter has straight teeth and perfect vision.  Our son has braces and glasses.


Redesigning People


Submitted by Dennis Smith, Union City Library member

Probably every parent has at some time wished that they could change something about their child.  Parents of children born with a disability surly wish there had been a way to prevent it.  But many parents of healthy “normal” children are not satisfied with them and whish they could have changed something in their child’s make up.

Fathers often wish that their sons were taller, faster, stronger, generally more athletic.  Mothers hope their daughters will be attractive, with nice hair and not prone to weight gain.

Science is close to offering us both, prevention of many congenital disabilities, and perhaps customizing a child to the parent’s preferences.

No one would argue with eliminating a disability.  In a family prone to diabetes, a little genetic adjustment could end it.  Many other birth defects might be circumvented as well.  That would be wonderful if it works, but disastrous if the fix goes wrong.


Even if genetic alterations can eliminate some birth defects, it is the “next step” which should concern us.  Should parents be allowed to determine any of their child’s characteristics?


Suppose a father is allowed to design his son to be the football player he always wished he had been.  The son grows to be strong, and a fast runner, but his intellect and psychology lead him to pursue a career in music or medicine where his athletic abilities are not important.  A surgeon’s hands need dexterity not size.  What if he developed a love for horse racing?  Linebackers don’t make good jockeys.

Write Your Story @ Union City Library

Join our library group, headed by Bruce Hasse, for an   informal gathering of aspiring writers of all types of genres. Your writing can be memoirs, creative non-fiction, poetry, song lyrics, science fiction, plays,essays, you name it!  We just want to hear what you have written and support each other as we grow as writers.

Third Tuesday of the Month: August 15,  September 19 , and  October 17                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   1 p.m. — 3 p.m.


Leave a comment

Filed under Events, News, Uncategorized, Union City Library

Write Your Story…Alen Alda’s quest for a better communication

If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face? : My Adventures in the Art and Science of Relating and Communicating

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Award-winning actor Alan Alda tells the fascinating story of his quest to learn how to communicate better, and to teach others to do the same. With his trademark humor and candor, he explores how to develop empathy as the key factor.

Alan Alda has been on a decades-long journey to discover new ways to help people communicate and relate to one another more effectively. If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face? is the warm, witty, and informative chronicle of how Alda found inspiration in everything from cutting-edge science to classic acting methods. His search began when he was host of PBS’s Scientific American Frontiers, where he interviewed thousands of scientists and developed a knack for helping them communicate complex ideas in ways a wide audience could understand—and Alda wondered if those techniques held a clue to better communication for the rest of us.

In his wry and wise voice, Alda reflects on moments of miscommunication in his own life, when an absence of understanding resulted in problems both big and small. He guides us through his discoveries, showing how communication can be improved through learning to relate to the other person: listening with our eyes, looking for clues in another’s face, using the power of a compelling story, avoiding jargon, and reading another person so well that you become “in sync” with them, and know what they are thinking and feeling—especially when you’re talking about the hard stuff.

Drawing on improvisation training, theater, and storytelling techniques from a life of acting, and with insights from recent scientific studies, Alda describes ways we can build empathy, nurture our innate mind-reading abilities, and improve the way we relate and talk with others. Exploring empathy-boosting games and exercises, If I Understood You is a funny, thought-provoking guide that can be used by all of us, in every aspect of our lives—with our friends, lovers, and families, with our doctors, in business settings, and beyond.

“Alda uses his trademark humor and a well-honed ability to get to the point, to help us all learn how to leverage the better communicator inside each of us.”—Forbes

“Communicating is at the heart of connectedness. Alda, with his laudable curiosity, has learned something you and I can use right now.”—Charlie Rose

“Sit back and enjoy Alan Alda’s scientific journey of communication.”—Barbara Walters

Write Your Story @ Union City Library

Join our library group, headed by Bruce Hasse, for an   informal gathering of aspiring writers of all types of genres. Your writing can be memoirs, creative non-fiction, poetry, song lyrics, science fiction, plays,essays, you name it!  We just want to hear what you have written and support each other as we grow as writers.

Third Tuesday of the Month: July 18 , August 15, & September 19                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1 p.m. — 3 p.m.


Leave a comment

Filed under Events, Reading, Union City Library