Time is a moving, rolling thing. For the oldest members of the Boomer generation, the sixties were their most memorable and trying decade. It was certainly a dynamic and restless time in the history of the country.
It is now 2014, and we are five years into the fiftieth anniversary of the sixties. We have missed some prior events: the election of John F. Kennedy in 1960, the Bay of Pigs, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the March on Washington, and the assassination of President John Kennedy.
So far in 2014, we have celebrated or commemorated the arrival of the Beatles in the USA, and the signing of the Civil Rights Bill. Still to come this year is the emergence of the Free Speech Movement (FSM) in Berkeley, and the election of Lyndon B. Johnson as President over Barry Goldwater.
In the remaining five years of the decade (1965-69), there are upcoming events too numerous to mention. I will mention just a few: the escalation of the Vietnam War, the protest (mostly on college campuses) against the Vietnam War, the continuance of the Civil Rights movement, the reemergence of a feminist movement, and the emergence of a Gay Rights movement. The protests and the various movements represented an unprecedented and extended critique of American society. It could all be wrapped up in one word: Counterculture.
1968 was perhaps the worst year of all. It began with the Tet Offensive in January-February, the beginning of the end of general American support for the war. Later in April and June, there were the respective assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy, brother of John. Finally, the year ended with the election of Richard M. Nixon as President.
In 1969, the United States triumphantly landed the first human on the moon, Neil Armstrong.
In another five years, American history will roll into the fiftieth anniversary of the decade of the Seventies. It remains to be seen what will be the significant decades for Generation X, Generation Y, and Generation Z.
In The Unreleased Beatles, author Richie Unterberger examines the group from a unique perspective. That is to say he explores the huge amount of material that that Beatles did not intend for public consumption (i.e. bootlegs, out takes, alternate recordings, rare film footage), but is available if one looks hard enough. A great opportunity to look behind the scenes while the Beatles developed their craft.
Nowhere Boy, a riviting biopic, focuses on John Lennon's teen years and relationship with mother Julia and aunt Mimi. Well-paced, beautifully photographed, and wonderfully acted, this is an revealing look at the creative, unpredictable, and genius that John Lennon would come to soon be.
My son is a night club DJ. He used to have gigs at San José hot spots such as “The Brit” (Britannia Arms), Wet, and Fahrenheit, but he moved to L.A. last year. I would give you the link to his web site, but it’s rated R for language, and San José Public Library’s site is family friendly.
My son the DJ primarily spins, scratches, and mixes hip hop. I grew up with Elvis, the Beatles, and Bob Dylan, and I don’t know much about hip hop. As a librarian, and a curious person, I love to use the library’s resources to learn about things. As a mother, I want to understand my son’s work. Follow me as I search for information on hip hop, and you may get some ideas about how to do your own research.
Naturally I start with the library catalog. I do a keyword search for “hip hop” and get 459 results. Yikes! That’s more than I bargained for, so I decide to narrow the search. I do a subject search (instead of keyword) and get 45 hits. At least that’s manageable. I scan the list of items and decide on the book Rough Guide to Hip-Hop and the DVD Wild Style. Neither one is available at the King Library where I work, so I hit the request button at the top of each catalog record and place requests to have them sent to the King Library for me. Unlike entertainment movies, the DVD can be requested since it’s non-fiction.
Next I decide to take advantage of SJPL’s helpful electronic resources. I go to the library’s web site (www.sjpl.org) and click on the “research” box at the bottom of the home page. For a quick overview of hip hop, I select World Book Encyclopedia on the research page. I enter “hip hop” in the search bar and read the article, but I want to know more. I click on “Magazines and Newspaper Articles,” which takes me to a database called “Academic Search Premier.” When I enter “hip hop” I get 11,638 results. I scan a few articles with titles such as “Hip Hop Hermeneutics and Multicultural Education: A Theory of Cross-Cultural Understanding,” and “Anticipation and Delay as Micro-Rhythm and Gesture in Hip Hop Aesthetics.” These articles are too academic for me!
I go back to the Research page and click on “More Research Resources by Topic,” scroll down and find “Student Research Center.” I try my search here and get 64,552 hits. I scan the first few pages and find these articles are more my speed. I think I’ll read “The Roots of Hip-Hop” for historical background and “Hip-Hop Dudes and Divas” to learn about the personalities.
I’m exhausted by now (and you probably are, too), but I hope you’ll take the time to look at the multitude of resources available to you on the SJPL web site. And don’t forget, you can always ask a library staff member for assistance. Help is available via phone, e-mail and chat reference, as well as in person.