More than 100 friends and supporters attended the UC San Diego Library's 10th anniversary Dinner in the Library celebration on September 12, which generated $125,000, a record amount for the Library. Guests dined in the iconic Geisel Library, and enjoyed cocktails while perusing the wide range of offerings in the Library's silent auction. The auction included get-away trips such as an "Arts & Crafts weekend in Pasadena" and a two-night weekend at the Library Hotel in New York City, along with a behind-the-scenes tour of NYU's Fales Library and Special Collections. Guests also cast their bids for a craft beer tour-via limousine-of San Diego's top breweries, a caravan safari at the San Diego Zoo's Safari Park, and evenings at the opera, the symphony, and the theatre.
The keynote speaker at this year's dinner was Jay Parini, the acclaimed author, poet, and critic. Parini's talk centered on Promised Land: Thirteen Books That Changed America. He described these books as not necessarily the greatest books of all time, but groundbreaking books that helped to define the American experience. When compiling his list, Parini first identified the great American themes, the watershed events and triumphs that make us distinctively American.
Among the books on his list: The Federalist Papers, a series of essays and articles by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and James Jay, reflecting the ideas of our founding fathers as they sought to ratify a constitution for our young democracy. He also includes two books that framed the debate on race in America: The Soul of Black Folks, by W.E. Dubois, and Uncle Tom's Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe. Parini described the latter as perhaps the most influential book ever published about race in America and, in the 19th century, the best-selling book in the world, after the Bible. Regarding the Bible, he is often asked why it did not make the list. His reply: "God wasn't an American." Other volumes on his list include: Henry David Thoreau's Walden; Benjamin Franklin's autobiography; and Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn, and Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique.
The dinner also included a salute to John Berol, this year's Geisel Citation winner and a founding member of the University Librarian's Advisory Board. Berol has provided consistent philanthropic support to the Library, including establishing the June Waterous Berol Reading Lounge in the Library's Biomedical Library building and contributing to the Library's Mandeville Special Collections.