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GIA Museum Tour — Recap

GIA Museum Tour — Recap

If you missed the tour of the GIA Museum, please make a mental note to attend any future tour opportunities here! The event was delightful, educational, and filled with beautiful and historic jewelry. 

Our private tour began with the library. Two of our board members, Chris (jobs) and Dianna (treasurer) work at the GIA Library, and joined us for this portion of the tour. (By the way, congratulations are in order to Chris, who recently received her Graduate Gemologist degree!)  Paula Rucinski, the library manager, walked us through its collection and archives, pointing out the variety of materials on the shelves, and shared stories of the library’s digitization project.

For the past few years, the library has been digitizing its rarest books. These files are now available to the public via the Internet Archive. The library’s catalog links directly to digitized copies of rare books such as Pliny’s Natural History from 1496, and a gorgeous, hand-written and hand-illustrated book of British Mineralogy by Martha Proby.

Unfortunately, no photography was permitted in the Jewels of India exhibit, or I would have taken photos of both the gems and the informational displays detailing the history behind them.

The exhibit was stellar, not only for the jewels, but also for the detailed educational information included with each item. For instance, there was a wonderful educational display describing the idea of “navaratna” — sacred gemstones representing aspects of Hindu astrology, as well as examples of navaratna in the jewelry on display. More information on this exhibit can be found on the GIA’s Jewels of India page.

Here are some photos of our tour! Thank you again to everyone at GIA for your hospitality, and for giving us each a copy of a book on gemstones.

A 400 lb art piece made of three pieces of rutilated quart, hanging from the ceiling and illuminated by narrow windows.

This 400 lb “pendant” of rutilated quartz is stunning to behold, but one thing especially cool about it is that twice a year, on the vernal and autumnal equinox,  the sun shines through the quartz and creates a beautiful rainbow along the stairway across the building!

A large slice of pink and green Liddicoatite

Liddicoatite, named after GIA founder Richard Liddicoat, is a distinctive type of tourmaline, a gemstone that can be found in San Diego. The museum had several gorgeous examples of tourmaline, including a two-finger butterfly ring carved from watermelon tourmaline.  I especially love the concentric triangles (or it can look like a Mercedes Benz symbol) within this stone.

A woman with her palms on a glass display case of trillion-cut gemstones

Cindy found some trillion-cut pink gems that matched her outfit perfectly.

Miniature musical instruments carved from a variety of gemstones

Lapis lazuli, rose quartz, malachite, rutilated quartz, turquoise, obsidian, black onyx, what else? Oh yeah, YES PLEASE.

Our small, but thoroughly captivated, group!

Do you think this statue of Richard Liddicoat is life-size?

SLA members pose for a photo at the GIA

Be sure to join us next time!

-Jamie Lin, SLA San Diego President-Elect

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Let’s talk about…. What Library School Didn’t Teach Me

You are invited!

APRIL 20th, 2018 … 12 pm PST … Register Here


ATTN: current LIS students, former LIS students, potential LIS students, and new professionals!

Please join SLA-San Diego for a lively and candid panel discussion. Panelists represent the areas of public, academic, archives, and corporate librarianship.

Plus! Find out how you can enter to win $1000 to attend the 2018 SLA Annual Conference in Baltimore, where Carla Hayden will deliver the keynote address.


Register Here


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SLA San Diego in Phoenix

SLA San Diego in Phoenix

We had some great representation in 120 degree Phoenix last week! The San Diego Chapter and friends got together for some Cornish Pasties (pronounced “pahsties” — as the waitress informed us, not to be confused with the long “a” sound which means something totally different…)

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June 2017 event: Museum of Photographic Arts (MOPA)

June 2017 event: Museum of Photographic Arts (MOPA)

On June 9th, a small group of us gathered at the Museum of Photographic Arts (MOPA) in Balboa Park for a facilitated tour of the current exhibition, Sebastião Salgado: Genesis, and a visit to The Edmund L. and Nancy K. Dubois Library.

The Sebastião Salgado: Genesis exhibition is a remarkable collection of black and white photographs depicting “the landscapes, seascapes, animals and peoples that have so far escaped the long reach of today’s world.”  The tour included guided conversations and observations of the images, their purpose and meaning.

After the exhibition, we were treated to a tour of The Edmund L. and Nancy K. Dubois Library, one of the largest collections of items related to photography.  The unique collection is widely used by students and researchers alike.

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Midway Museum photo

Midway Museum photo

midway photo

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SLA Fall Seminar 2016 Photos, Part 2

SLA Fall Seminar 2016 Photos, Part 2





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SLA Fall Seminar 2016 Photos, Part 1

SLA Fall Seminar 2016 Photos, Part 1





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San Diego History Center & Lore Behind the Roar Exhibit

San Diego History Center & Lore Behind the Roar Exhibit

Ken Allen Lore Behind the Roar SDHCWe have so many great treasures right here in our own backyard.  Members of SLA-SD and SANDALL (San Diego Area Law Librarians) took the time to explore a few on Tuesday, May 24, enjoying guided tours of the San Diego History Center (SDHC) Photo Collection, Research Library & Archives and current exhibit, The Lore Behind the Roar.

After gathering in the Atrium, we started down the stairs and into the Research Library and Archives.  Curator Tara Centybear shared the work behind The Lore Behind the Roar, an exhibit exploring the 100-year history and evolution of the San Diego Zoo.  Curators and staff from the SDHC worked closely with staff from San Diego Zoo Global (SDZG), combing through the SDZG Library & Archives, Photo Archives, and the Zoo and Park grounds, including the Institute for Conservation Research and Scripps and Paul Harter veterinary hospitals.

Next, Chris Travers, Director of the Photograph Collection, shared a few highlights from 2.5 million images, which is one of the largest regional photography collections in the United States.  The collection dates back to the 1860’s and is well preserved.

We continued our journey back in time with a presentation by Jane Kenealy, Archivist.  San Diego “firsts” in the collection include the first three volumes of the San Diego Union and the first book of recorded deeds.  The Archives also houses nautical maps and other early, although less accurate, San Diego area maps and interesting ephemera, such as old Padres programs.  Jane also shared a document signed by Abraham Lincoln, a news clipping book of suspicious deaths (1921-1926), Panama-California Exposition posters and several other amazing items.  With over 45 million documents, it couldn’t have been easy to pick a few favorites.


We could have easily spent the rest of the afternoon in the Research Library and Archives, but instead continued upstairs to view The Lore Behind the Roar.  We learned the San Diego Zoo was started by Panama-California Exposition physician Dr. Harry Wegeforth.  A San Diego resident and life-long animal lover, he was inspired by the roar of a lion from the Exposition’s menagerie.   “Wouldn’t it be splendid it San Diego had a zoo…I think I’ll start one,” he said to his brother.  The early years were not easy, and several colorful stories unfold in the exhibit galleries.

Diablo the Python Lore Behind the Roar SDHCThe exhibit also takes us to the present day and conservation success stories, such as the California condor.  Once reduced to a mere 22 in the wild, there are now over 400.  San Diego Zoo Global (SDZG) currently works in more than 35 countries across six continents.  Next to the Safari Park in Escondido, SDZG’s Institute for Conservation Research is home to the Frozen Zoo®,  over 10,000 living cell cultures, oocytes, sperm, and embryos representing nearly 1,000 taxa.

It was a packed afternoon and we continued our exploration of local treasures at a Balboa Park favorite, Panama 66, the outdoor restaurant at the San Diego Museum of Art.  We enjoyed the opportunity to learn more about the SDHC, the San Diego Zoo and spend time with our SANDALL colleagues.

As always, big thanks to Kristi Ehrig-Burgess and Greg Sorini for organizing, along with Dr. Michele A. L. Villagran from SANDALL.  We thoroughly enjoyed our time and appreciate the wonderful hospitality of  the SDHC staff.

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Mingei International Museum; Asafo Flags of Ghana

Mingei International Museum; Asafo Flags of Ghana

I have to admit that I wasn’t sure what to expect from the Asafo Flags of Ghana exhibit at the Mingei International Museum.  I was very pleasantly surprised to learn about these important parts of the culture of Ghana.  We had a nice turnout on a beautiful Tuesday.  With free museum Tuesdays and Spring Break, parking was a little more challenging than expected, but everyone found a spot and made it to the museum on time.

We were welcomed to the museum by Christine Knoke Hietbrink, Head Curator/Director of Exhibitions.  She explained that the name Mingei is a combination of two Japanese words meaning Art of the People which describes the type of exhibits and art work the museum displays.  The Mingei started in UTC with 5000 square feet of space but moved to its beautiful 41,000 square foot facility in Balboa Park in 1996.  It now features weaving, rugs, pottery, glass, small sculptures and other arts and crafts from over 140 countries.

Our tour was led by Docent Carol Hinrichs who walked us around the flags, told us of their history and helped us understand what the flags represented.  There are 36 Asafo flags in the Mingei’s permanent collection, all hand sewn and used at some point by Ghanaian Asafos.  An Asafo is a group or “company” within a village or city.  Smaller cities may have one or two Asafos while larger cities may have many more.  Each flag tells the story of its Asafo.  They feature animals and people, weapons and mythic creatures.  Reflecting the fact that the Ghana people often speak in proverbs, the flags carry proverbial messages.  In fact, the true meaning of some of the symbols is not always known.  However, it is certain that the flags depict the status, wealth and strength of the Asafos.

In Guana, the flags are not hung on poles but actively used, even today, in energetic ceremonial dances to taunt rival Asafos.  Their use was evident by frayed edges or patched portions of the flags on exhibit.  In Ghanaian culture, only men were and are allowed to make the flags, touch the flags and dance the flags.  Carol pointed out the ironic fact that the Mingei’s flags were collected by and are now cared for by women.

After touring the flag exhibit, Kristi Ehrig-Burgess,

Asafo FlagsLibrary, Archives and Digitization Manager, took us into her world.  As her title indicates, Kristi wears many hats.  She runs the Library, which is open to museum members, docents, scholars and volunteers.  It houses 10,000 books on folk art, crafts and design and over 30 years of institutional archive materials, documenting past exhibits, site plans, meeting minutes and more.  Her goal is to digitally document the archives and the 26,000 objects in the collection and make much of it available online.  There are already 5,000 objects available via the Mingei’s website and she hopes to have almost all of the collection completed and online in a year.  She has an army of interns and volunteers at her disposal to help in this monumental task.

We ended the evening at Panama 66, the outdoor restaurant at the San Diego Museum of Art where we enjoyed food and conversation under the pleasant glow of their heaters.

Thanks to Kristi for helping to organize the visit and take us inside a wonderful exhibit and Library.  We hope to see you on April 21st  at the Gemological Institute of America in Carlsbad.  Details will be coming soon!


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Congratulations to our 2015 SLA-SD Scholarship Recipient!

Congratulations to our 2015 SLA-SD Scholarship Recipient!

We’re very pleased to announce that Sharesly Rodriguez is the recipient of the SLA-SD 2015 Scholarship!

Sharesly is pursuing her MLIS degree at the iSchool, San Jose State University.  She is a recent graduate of the University of California, Santa Cruz, with a BA in Legal Studies and Sociology.  She has experience working in a variety of library settings, including academic and law libraries, and public records archives.

In addition to a busy school and work schedule, Sharesly has agreed to serve as the SLA-SD Chapter Student Liaison for 2016.  Thanks, Sharesly, and welcome!



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