FCC students unaware of literary museum


Author Gary Soto in “The Gary Soto Literary Museum” displaying his work Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013 in the Old Administration Building.

Story By: Lauren Baker, Art Director

Fresno City College is no stranger to recognizing the achievements of both its current students and alumni who go forth into the world and make something of themselves.

A great example of this is former FCC student and critically-acclaimed author of Chicano and children’s literature, Gary Soto, for whom a literary museum resides in the Old Administration Building.

The museum exists as an homage to Soto’s extended career and life, to which he hosts tours twice a semester for interested students and members of the community alike.

The only problem at hand is that the majority of students on campus are unaware that the museum even exists.

Of a variety of FCC students that were asked about the museum, the majority of them knew who Gary Soto is, but did not know that a museum for him existed or that it could be found on campus.

While many did know about the museum, the majority agreed that the concept of a literary museum could be useful in “creating awareness” and an “appreciation of literature.”

One student polled said “I have never been there before, but it would be interesting and I’d want to go to it.”

The museum itself is located in OAB 139, adjacent to one of its two courtyards. It’s a one-room collection of memorabilia from Soto’s career and life, which includes a glass shelf stocked with his written works and examples of some of his award-winning poetry on the walls. Soto himself leads the interactive tours twice a semester with students and talks about his journey  as a writer.

“My first published poem was actually in the Rampage in 1973,” said Soto. “Had it not been for that time, I don’t know that I would have ever pursued writing.”

Soto started out as a janitor on FCC’s campus and has become a nationally recognized author for Chicano children’s literature classics such as “Too Many Tamales” and “Chato’s Kitchen.” The FCC Centennial book features a forward from him as well.