Film Series to Celebrate Acquisition of Filmmaker Paul Espinosa’s Papers

The University of California, San Diego Library has acquired the papers of Paul Espinosa, an award-winning independent filmmaker, well known for his documentary and dramatic films focused on the U.S.-Mexican border region, which helped to increase awareness about a host of immigration and cross-cultural issues. Espinosa, who has been the recipient of eight Emmy Awards for his films, recently retired from Arizona State University, where he was on the faculty at the School of Transborder Studies. He continues to make films through his company, Espinosa Productions, now located in San Diego.

Pancho Villa and John PershingThe Library will be celebrating the acquisition of Espinosa’s archive with a Fall film series, beginning with an opening reception on October 10 in Geisel Library, and film screenings on October 23 at the University’s Cross Cultural Center, November 4 at the Digital Gym Cinema in North Park, and November 10 at the Museum of Photographic Arts (MOPA). All events are free and open to the public. (Click here to RSVP)

“We are honored to have acquired Paul Espinosa’s papers, which will be widely used on this campus,” said Brian E. C. Schottlaender, The Audrey Geisel University Librarian at UC San Diego. “Our Library collections have particular strengths on California and Baja California history, as well as on Chicano culture and activism. The Espinosa Papers will certainly strengthen and complement these materials.”

According to Lynda Claassen, the Library’s director of Special Collections & Archives, Espinosa’s papers are rich, diverse, and plentiful.  The materials include approximately 200 linear feet (200 boxes) documenting Espinosa’s more than 35 years of filmmaking, including interviews, research materials, photos, and correspondence, as well as films scripts, DVD’s, and video.

“As a longtime resident of San Diego, where so much of my professional work was created, I was delighted that my papers found a home at UC San Diego, where scholars will have access to this extensive archive for decades to come,” said Espinosa.”

Espinosa has written, directed, and produced many national documentary films for PBS, including:  The Lemon Grove Incident, (1986), In the Shadow of the Law (1988), Uneasy Neighbors (1990), The Price of Renewal (2006), California and the American Dream (2006), The U.S.-Mexican War: 1846-1848 (1998), Ballad of an Unsung Hero (1985), Taco Shop Poets (2004), The Border (1999) and …and the earth did not swallow him (1995), an American Playhouse adaptation of a Tómas Rivera novel, among others.

Lemon Grove class photoThe Lemon Grove Incident, produced and written by Espinosa, traces the unsuccessful efforts of the Lemon Grove School District in the 1930’s to establish a separate school for Mexican students.  The film was described by The New York Times as “the story of the nation’s first successful legal challenge to school segregation, 14 years before the Supreme Court outlawed separation by race in the landmark case Brown v. Board of Education.” The film will be screened on October 23, from 7 to 9 p.m., at the UC San Diego Cross Cultural Center as part of the 25th anniversary celebration for the University’s Department of Ethnic Studies.

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Audrey Geisel Donates $3 Million to Renovate Geisel Library

Geisel Night DrSeuss UCSDCommPub

San Diego philanthropist, literacy advocate, and longtime supporter of the University of California, San Diego, Audrey Geisel, has donated $3 million toward the renovation of the university’s iconic flagship building, Geisel Library. The gift kicks off a major initiative to transform and revitalize the interior public spaces of Geisel Library to meet the evolving needs of students, faculty, and other Library users in the digital age. Geisel’s gift will be used to renovate and update the entry level of Geisel Library, which opened in 1972 as the university’s Central Library. In 1995, the William Pereira-designed building—known by many as “the spaceship”—was named in honor of Audrey and her late husband, Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel, in recognition of a major gift from Audrey Geisel.

“We are extremely grateful to Audrey for this generous lead gift to launch the Geisel Library Revitalization Initiative,” said Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla.  “This will ensure that Geisel Library, a campus and architectural landmark, continues to provide the outstanding services and spaces needed to support today’s students and scholars, as well as members of the local community. Audrey has been one of the university’s most generous and stalwart supporters, and with this gift, the Geisel legacy will continue to shape our future success as a world-class university.”

The UC San Diego Library is ranked amongst the top 25 academic research libraries in the nation, with more than seven million digital and print volumes, journals, and multimedia materials. Library resources provide the foundation of knowledge for many of the groundbreaking discoveries, treatments, and intellectual achievements for which UC San Diego has become renowned. While many of the Library’s information resources are available online 24/7, more than 1.5 million people stream through the Geisel Library and the Biomedical Library buildings each year, and the Library’s vast resources and services are accessed more than 5.7 million times via the Library website.

Audrey Geisel“When I first saw the space-age building that is now Geisel Library, I was enamored with its iconic design, as well as its scholarly and literacy mission,” said Geisel. “Decades later, I am delighted with the impact the Library has had on countless students, researchers, and scholars, as well as on San Diego. It gives me great joy to help ensure that Geisel Library will continue to attract and fuel students, scholars, and community members who are passionate about learning.”

While the UC San Diego Library has long been recognized as a leader in digitizing its collections and in harnessing technology to advance scholarship, the 285,000 square-foot facility—which is more than four decades old—has become dated.  As the Library’s collections continue to shift from print to digital, spaces no longer needed to house books and journals are increasingly needed for collaborative learning and research.

“There is no way to convey how much Audrey’s gift means to the UC San Diego Library,” said Brian E. C. Schottlaender, The Audrey Geisel University Librarian.  “I am thrilled with the positively transformative effect this will have on the Geisel Library public spaces, and how much this will benefit the campus and local communities. Audrey’s incredible support through the existing Geisel Library Endowments has ensured a level of excellence in our collections and staff, and helped maintain our ranking as a top 25 research library during a time of significant budget cuts. This current use gift will launch an exciting new chapter in our evolution, ensuring that Geisel Library continues to function as a vital and innovative facility that enables our talented students, faculty, and staff to excel.”

The main (2nd) floor of Geisel Library is the most active learning space in the Library. Based on ongoing assessments of user needs and traffic patterns, this floor will be redesigned to more effectively support the various approaches to study, research, and learning of today’s students and scholars. The major renovation will include a reconfigured lobby entrance; a significant upgrade to the existing Learning Commons; a new Research Commons; a café and lounge; the implementation of new technologies; and significant enhancements to furniture, carpeting and finishes.

“Our library facilities are being used now, more than ever,” said Schottlaender. “But, like many libraries across the nation, the Library is being used in different ways than it has in the past.  Our hope is that this generous gift will lead to more support, so we can upgrade other public spaces in the building in the near future. I would urge others to join Audrey in helping fulfill this exciting initiative to transform Geisel Library into a library that is well-equipped for 21st century learners. We want this amazing building to be as inspiring on the inside as it is bold on the outside.”

Geisel Library is also home to the Dr. Seuss Collection—in Mandeville Special Collections—with more than 12,000 original drawings, sketches, manuscript drafts, books, notebooks, photographs, and other memorabilia documenting the creative achievements of Theodor Seuss Geisel. In 1992, additional space was added to the Geisel Library building with the construction of subterranean wings by Gunnar Birkerts & Associates, preserving the silhouette of the building’s striking geometric design.

Renovation of the entry level of Geisel Library is the first stage of the Geisel Library Revitalization Initiative, with additional major enhancements slated for the 1st and 8th floors. Private support is essential to accomplishing this ambitious undertaking. For further information on the initiative, please click here or contact Julie Sully, Director of Development for the Library, at or 858-822-4554.

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