Gordon Yoshikawa talks about living in a US internment camp during WWII

Meet Gordon Yoshikawa at the Main Library, 1786 Burlington Pike, in Burlington on Wednesday, May 17 at 7 p.m. when he speaks about his experience living in a US internment camp as a young child.

On December 7, 1941, the U.S. port of Pearl Harbor was bombed by 360 Japanese warplanes. The United Stated declared war on Japan the next day. At the time, Gordon Yoshikawa was living in Yuba City, California, with his parents and four siblings. After war was declared, the military command began to take measures to secure strategic military facilities, harbors and bases as civilians on the West Coast continued to live their daily lives with perhaps a sharpened sense of potential peril. Among these West Coast residents were several hundred thousand residents of Japanese descent. Some were fishermen, others farmers and still others owners of a variety of businesses up and down the coast. For them, life continued as for other Americans: busy but with a wary ear to news of possible Japanese military activity.

In the spring of 1942, under the authorization of Executive Order 9066, signed by President Franklin Roosevelt and the War Relocation Authority, more than 120,000 Americans of Japanese descent, some 80,000 of whom were natural born US citizens, were relocated to remote internment camps built by the U.S. military in scattered locations around the country. For the next two and a half years, many of these Japanese Americans endured extremely difficult living conditions and poor treatment by their military guards.

Gordon and his family were first sent to an internment camp at Tule Lake, California, and then two years later, transferred to a second camp at Topaz, Utah. On December 17, 1944, U.S. Major General Henry C. Pratt issued Public Proclamation No. 21, declaring that, effective January 2, 1945, Japanese-American “evacuees” from the West Coast could return to their homes. Gordon and his family resettled in Cincinnati in May 1945. Gordon was able to finish school, attend college and went on to spend
37 years as a chemist in the printing ink and varnish industry in

After the war, investigations by government committees found that no Japanese Americans had offered aid to the enemy or committed any crimes. Many of those of military age joined the armed forces fighting in Europe in the 442nd, one of the most decorated units in the Army. Others were instrumental in the Military Intelligence Service serving as battlefield interpreters and translators.

In 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed a bill to recompense each surviving internee
with a tax-free check for $20,000 and an apology from the U.S. government.

There is a large body of literature, non-fiction and fiction, that recounts the experiences of Japanese Americans during the time of their incarceration by the U.S. Government. Below are some of these books that can be checked out at Boone County Public Library.

Children and Teen Books:

 Adult Books:

Library Country Club seeking new members – inquire within!

Join the INclusive Boone County Public Library Country Club – you’ve already paid your membership fee, shouldn’t you take advantage of it? No, we don’t have a golf course, tennis courts, or a pool, but we do have five locations where you can meet your friends and get to know other people in your community. The Library is a place where you can socialize, isn’t that what a country club is really all about?

Let’s get the money part over first. Doesn’t everyone want to know up front what something costs? Your fee to be a member of this INclusive club is just 5.2 cents for every one hundred dollars of your property’s value, paid in taxes to the Library. The taxes you would pay for a $175,100 home* (the average value of a home in Boone County according to American Fact Finder) would be $91.05 per year. That’s just $7.59 a month and covers everyone who lives in your home. Figure out how much you pay and the value of the Library services you use at http://www.bcpl.org/about/calculators/

Let me tell you about some of the amenities this fabulous library/country club has to offer!

  • Camaraderie
    Friendship and community are the pillars of any club. Not only can you come to the club and check out books, but you can meet your friends and fellow club members for a cup of coffee, game of bridge, book discussion or even for lunch! Did you know that we have a café inside the Main Library? Battaglia Deli & Café is open Monday – Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (3 p.m. on Saturday)
  • Professional staff
    Need help researching your family tree, downloading eBooks to your eReader, or finding sources for a paper? Make a one-on-one appointment with one of BCPL’s professional reference staff – they love this stuff!
  • Meeting rooms
    As a BCPL cardholder, you are welcome to reserve a meeting room for your business, organization or agency to use – just another perk of membership!
  • Wi-Fi
    Bring your laptop and connect to Wi-Fi at the Main Library, Chapin Memorial Library, Scheben, Florence, or Walton Branch. Forgot your laptop? Use one of our computers or laptops – they all have Internet access and MS Office.
  • Cultural events, classes, exhibits and live concerts
    Looking for something to do? Bring the family to the “club!” The Library offers a wealth of fun and educational activities for all ages. Sign up to receive Discover, the Library’s newsletter, by mail or email http://www.bcpl.org/events/ (scroll to the bottom of the page).
  • Weddings
    You probably think I’m joking, but I’m not. Both the Scheben Branch and the Main Library have been used as wedding venues! No, we don’t have room for lots of guests, but a simple wedding with a couple witnesses and a Justice of the Peace under the dome of the Main Library might be right for you!
  • Little things
    It could be the warm and familiar greeting of the staff member who smiles at you when you enter the building. Or how about the librarian who knows which authors you like to read and lets you know when they have a new book out. Library staff work very hard getting to know you and keeping you happy.

Just in case you aren’t convinced yet, here are seven more perks to using the Library:

  • We don’t discriminate – anyone can join!
  • Five “country club” locations, spread throughout Boone County
  • Informal dress code – jacket and tie not required.
  • Quiet study rooms available for your use
  • Freegal – enjoy five free and legal music downloads a week and keep them forever! http://www.bcpl.org/digital/
  • Read magazines for free on your device with our subscription to Zinio.
  • Did I mention books?

When you join Boone County Public Library, you are joining a family. The staff of BCPL are committed to making the Library your home away from home. The atmosphere is welcoming and warm, and you will usually find a friend or neighbor enjoying a book in a comfy chair at Walton, in a storytime with their children at Scheben, dancing in the aisle during a concert at Main, on a computer at Florence, or chatting with one of our staff members at Chapin. We want you to feel at home at BCPL, and our first-rate facilities and impeccable service will keep you coming back time after time. You’ve already paid your membership fee, so stop by today, pick up your Library card and start using YOUR Library!



PR Coordinator Becky Kempf has been telling people about the Library for thirteen years. When she isn’t busy evangelizing about books, reading, and the Library’s concert series, she’s out photographing dogs, birds, rusty old cars and her grandchildren.