June 23, 2021 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Santa Monica Resident Wins National Book-Collecting Competition:

Santa Monica resident and UC Riverside graduate student Elias Serna knew he had become a collector of books the day his mother told him, “Ya no compres tantos libros” (“Don’t buy any more books”).

Persistence and a love of books and other materials documenting the Chicano Movement paid off.

Serna’s collection of nearly four dozen books — many of them rare or hard to find — pamphlets, art catalogs and films has won first prize in the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America’s National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest.

He will receive the $2,500 prize in an awards ceremony Oct. 18 at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. UCR Libraries will receive a $1,000 prize.

Serna, a Ph.D. candidate in English, is the first UCR student to win the national contest.

“UC Riverside is honored that one of our own has won the ABAA’s National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest,” said Steven Mandeville-Gamble, university librarian. “Elias Serna demonstrated an insightful and keen collecting focus as he built his personal book collection chronicling scholarship on the Chicano/Chicana movement.”

Serna’s collection previously won first place in the UC Riverside Adam Repán Petko Student Book Collection Competition. Winners of local competitions for undergraduate and graduate students advance to the national contest, which is administered by the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America (ABAA), the Fellowship of American Bibliophilic Societies, the Center for the Book, and the Rare Books and Special Collections Division of the Library of Congress, with major support from the Jay I. Kislak Foundation.

The UCR Libraries competition is named in honor of Adam Repán Petko (1896-1995), who immigrated to the United States in 1912.

His son, Dr. Edward Petko, funded the contest to honor the memory of his father by providing an opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students at UCR to display their talents in assembling and organizing a personal book collection.

“We are delighted that Elias has won first prize, particularly as it comes on the 10th anniversary of the Petko competition at UC Riverside,” said Melissa Conway, head of Special Collections & Archives of the UCR Libraries. Conway established the annual contest in 2003 after many conversations with Dr. Petko, himself the winner of the undergraduate prize at UCLA in the 1950s.

Judges of the national competition called the collection “a reflection of how a political movement awoke a cultural awareness. Protest morphed into theater, posters, poetry, literature and art. Serna himself founded the comedy group Chicano Secret Service. His deep commitment to his roots obviously has driven his collecting, but his well-tuned collector’s sensibility has informed his selection of essential texts and rare ephemera key to this important movement.”

Deborah Willis, chair of UCR’s Department of English, said Serna is doing crucial work to build an important new archive.

“The poems, posters, manifestos, films, broadsides, and rare books in his collection do not always find their way into traditional libraries, and without them a rich diversity of voices and perspectives can be lost to history,” she said. “Scholars of Chicana/o studies, historians, literary critics, poets, journalists, activists, and everyday readers will be grateful for Elias’ collection.  Elias’s work enriches us all and I’m delighted that he has been honored with this award.”

Serna, who grew up in the Pico neighborhood of Santa Monica, expects to complete his Ph.D. in spring 2014.

He holds a B.A. in Chicano studies from UC Berkeley and an M.F.A. from UCLA, and taught Chicano studies at California State University, Northridge for seven years before enrolling in the Ph.D. program at UCR.

His dissertation, currently titled “Composing a Chican@ Rhetorical Tradition: Decolonial Polemics of the Past, Present, and Future,” examines Tiburcio Vasquez’ photographs and letters from jail in the 1870s, feminist journalism from the Mexican anarchist group Partido Liberal Mexicano (PLM) in Los Angeles at the turn of the 20th century, and polemics from the Chicano Movement of the 1970s, especially the plans to create Chicano studies departments.

These books are among Serna’s favorite titles in his collection.

“The legacy of the Chicano civil rights movement, especially the student and arts movements, has been a key inspiration and moral guide, and the texts that this early movement produced have been my ‘holy books’ and documents that continue to inspire my work,” he explained.

Serna said he has admired learned people and has wanted to build a personal library for as long as he can remember.

“The ancient peoples in Andalusia revered being ‘people of the book,’ and the ancient people of the Americas were the same until their books were burned,” he explained. “I think this is relevant to what’s going on in Arizona and the destruction of the high school Mexican-American studies departments there.”

in News
Related Posts

Snap and Hulu Expanding Santa Monica Presence

June 22, 2021

June 22, 2021

Snapchat and Hulu, both based in Santa Monica, are expanding their footprints in the city. Learn more in this video...

Police Arrest Suspect in Downtown Santa Monica Homicide

June 22, 2021

June 22, 2021

27-year-old Long Beach man arrested as homicide suspect By Sam Catanzaro A suspect has been booked for murder in connection...

Two Suspects Arrested in Connection to Downtown Santa Monica Shooting

June 21, 2021

June 21, 2021

UPDATE: https://smmirror.com/2021/06/police-arrest-suspect-in-downtown-santa-monica-homicide/A man remains in custody for murder in connection to this incident, which was originally reported as a shooting...

Santa Monica Expected to Confirm Contract for New Interim City Manager

June 21, 2021

June 21, 2021

Former City Manager John Jalili expected assume interim post Friday  By Sam Catanzaro Santa Monica lawmakers are expected to approve...

Free Lunches Provided to School Aged Children at Virginia Ave Park: Santa Monica Beat – June 21, 2021

June 21, 2021

June 21, 2021

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * Free Lunches Provided to School Aged Children at Virginia Ave Park...

Santa Monica Aligns Mask Orders with LA County

June 17, 2021

June 17, 2021

On June 15, Interim City Manager Lane Dilg signed the 37th supplement to align Santa Monica’s local emergency provisions with Los Angeles County...

Former Santa Monica Resident Sentenced to Federal Prison for Embezzling More Than $22 Million from Employer

June 17, 2021

June 17, 2021

A former executive at a Hollywood-based digital marketing company that represents influencers on Instagram and YouTube was sentenced recently to...

Edify TV: Tourism Returning to Santa Monica?

June 17, 2021

June 17, 2021

A busy Memorial Day weekend in which Santa Monica hotel occupancy rates reached their highest levels since the pandemic began...

Santa Monica College Cancels Fireworks Show, Main Street Parade Also Off

June 17, 2021

June 17, 2021

Firework shows in Marina del Rey and Pacific Palisades back this year By Sam Catanzaro Santa Monica College (SMC) has...

Summer Safety Tips When Hiking and Biking Outdoors

June 17, 2021

June 17, 2021

LAFD Captain Erik Scott gives us tips on staying safe while enjoying the mountains this summer. Brought to you by...

Edify TV: Closing Expo Line Bike Path Gap?

June 15, 2021

June 15, 2021

Plans are in the works to close a frustrating gap in the Expo Line Bike Path. Learn more in this...

Markedly Different Reactions to Sheriff’s Plan to Clear Boardwalk Encampments

June 15, 2021

June 15, 2021

Plan to clear Boardwalk by Fourth of July met with applause, condemnation By Sam Catanzaro Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex...

Edify TV: Westside Vandalism Suspect Arrested

June 14, 2021

June 14, 2021

A man has been arrested in connection with a series of Westside vandalisms in West L.A., including at a local...

Loved Ones Ashes Stolen From Families Car In Santa Monica: Santa Monica Beat – June 14, 2021

June 14, 2021

June 14, 2021

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * Loved Ones Ashes Stolen From Families Car In Santa Monica *...