Sunday, May 22, 2011

Student elections need online outreach

As a former Santa Rosa Junior College student and Oak Leaf staff writer, now attending courses online through another community college, I could relate to the sentiment in the May 16 editorial, “Student elections train us for future apathy.”

The situation depicted in the editorial was similar to what I experienced during the spring semester. The college administration made an effort to include distance-education students in the voting process, for which I was appreciative — but campaign outreach was limited to events that were held on the college campus.

As a Northern California resident, it was not feasible for me to travel to Southern California to learn about my Associated Student Body candidates. In the end, knowing nothing about the candidates for president and vice president, I chose to cast no vote at all.

I agree with the Oak Leaf editorial: that students need to be given adequate information in order to vote intelligently. College administration needs to require its candidates to assemble campaign literature. It should then post that information online and send links to all students for whom it has valid e-mail addresses.

The college newspaper can and should publish profiles of all the candidates.

Candidates should be encouraged to make use of social media for their campaigning (i.e. creating a public Facebook page). Any live meet-the-candidate events should be recorded on video and then archived online or uploaded to a YouTube channel.

The presidential election of U.S. President Barack Obama relied heavily upon social media and upon utilizing multiple platforms to get his message to voters. Our ASB candidates and college administration need to follow suit.

Submitted as a letter to the editor of the Oak Leaf

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Fresh-baked bread on rainy day

Fresh-baked bread: whole wheat with sunflower seeds ... a great way to spend a rainy day.

Originally posted to Facebook

Tablet weaving was focus of class research

On Saturday, I submitted a research paper to LIBT 212, Research Skills for the Information Age. For my research topic, I chose tablet weaving, which has been a focus of my interest for years. The paper gave me a chance to share some of the threading diagrams I’d drawn in my journals over the years, along with a photo and image scans of fabric.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Guest blogging for Autism Women’s Network

Cynthia Parkhill in green Renaissance costume with Irish frame drum
Cynthia Parkhill guest-blogs for the Autism Women’s Network
My guest-blogging post for the Autism Women’s Network is about the benefit of my involvement in a medieval reenactment group, the Society for Creative Anachronism: that medieval reenactment brought me friends and professional skills.

As I explain in the essay, for most of my life, I felt alone and out-of-place, like an alien from another planet. I was fortunate in young adulthood to discover the SCA, a place where I could pursue the special interests that led me to be able to form friendships.

The Autism Women’s Network is featuring posts by females on the autism spectrum as well as parents and caregivers, in order to give the public a better idea of what female autism is in the words of people who actually live it every day.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Lending Library’s collection policy approved

The UUCLC Lending Library has a collection development policy, created by administrator Cynthia Parkhill for her studies toward an Associate’s degree in Library and Information Technology from Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo. The policy was approved May 1, 2011 by the UUCLC Governing Board.

Author’s update, Aug. 6, 2014: A link to the document in my Slideshare account corrects a severed link on the UUCLC website.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Armstrong’s ‘Twelve Steps’ is timely read

Book cover: Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life by Karen Armstrong
What moment can be more exciting to an aspiring librarian than the arrival of an order of books, particularly when a title in the selection has direct bearing on contemporary happenings.

Upon learning about the Charter for Compassion, I was determined to secure Karen Armstrong’s book, “Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life,” for my small church lending library. Its emphasis upon the Golden Rule made it a valuable resource for nearly every religious faith and local interest in a Lake County charter gave it special timeliness and relevance.

Armstrong, a religious scholar, is author of many books including “A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam” and “The Case for God.”

In “Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life,” Armstrong relates how she asked the nonprofit group Technology, Entertainment, Design (TED) to help her create a Charter for Compassion that would be written by leading thinkers from a variety of faiths:
“In a world in which small groups will increasingly have powers of destruction hitherto confined to the nation-state, it has become imperative to apply the Golden Rule globally, ensuring that all peoples are treated as we would wish to be treated ourselves. If our religious and ethical traditions fail to address this challenge, they will fail the test of our time.”
TED is perhaps best known for its conferences and speakers’ presentations that can be viewed online at but as Armstrong explains, TED presents a $100,000 award to people to help them make a better world. In 2007, Armstrong was the recipient of this award and the Charter for Compassion was the result:
“Thousands of people from all over the world contributed to a draft charter on a multilingual website in Hebrew, Arabic, Urdu, Spanish, and English; their comments were presented to the Council of Conscience, a group of notable individuals from six faith traditions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism) who met in Switzerland in February 2009 to compose the final version.”
The charter was officially launched Nov. 12, 2009.

In Lake County, local efforts culminated with the Lake County Board of Supervisors’ adoption on March 22 of a Lake County Charter for Compassion. It echos the language in the original charter: that “The principle of compassion lies at the heart of all religious, ethical and spiritual traditions, calling us always to treat all others as we wish to be treated ourselves.”

Having observed, far too often, people resorting to meanspiritedness — whether via online forums or during public testimony — I was thrilled that Lake County is part of the movement to restore compassion and respect to how people treat each other.

Hence the importance of Armstrong’s book. Like the title suggests, Armstrong presents  a 12-step program for cultivating and expanding compassion.

A person doesn’t have to consider him- or herself “religious” to benefit from this  book; treating other people as we wish to be treated can have secular value too by making interactions more productive.

“Twelve Steps to A Compassionate Life” is available in print and in audio format through the Lake County Public Library. Access the library catalog online or through a local branch to add your hold request.

For more information about the international charter, visit For more information about the Lake County charter, visit

Published May 3, 2011 in the Lake County Record-Bee

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Hand-made pouch for bus pass

Made a new ID holder out of brocade fabric to hold my Lake Transit rider's pass.

There are pockets on each side with a picture-frame opening through which the bus pass is visible. The fabric partition in the center has a grommet so I can hang it from a laniard.

I modeled my design after a plastic holder that was beginning to split at the seams.

Took two attempts to get the ID holder the right size but it turned out beautifully.

‘Say Something’ by Peggy Moss

Book cover: Say Something by Peggy Moss
The UUCLC Lending Library’s featured book of the month for May 2011 is Say Something by Peggy Moss.

A child who never says anything when other children are being teased or bullied finds herself in their position one day when jokes are made at her expense and no one speaks up. Say Something by Peggy Moss teaches children that being a silent bystander isn’t enough.

Lea Lyon’s bright, fluid watercolors illustrate the story, which also includes resources for getting involved in the community.

Peggy Moss worked as an assistant attorney general in the civil rights unit of the Maine Department of Attorney General and as associate director of the Center for the Prevention of Hate Violence. Moss now works with schools, both as a consultant to the center and independently, to prevent bullying and teasing.

Moss’s extensive background enables her to describe the devastating physical and emotional impact of bullying, harassment and hate violence through the voices of students who have been targeted and also through the lens of educators, parents and law enforcement personnel working to prevent violence in the first place. For more information, visit

This is one of the many books that can be found in the UUCLC Lending Library. Look for the portable library cart in the sanctuary on Sundays. Watch for UUCLC Lending Library updates at and on its Facebook page.

Cynthia Parkhill
UUCLC Lending Library
May 2011