WKU Libraries kicked off the spring season of “Far Away Places” with Dr. Jason Polk and Dr. Leslie North, Asstant Professors from the Department of Geography and Geology at WKU, who talked about leading a study abroad group to Iceland in the summer of 2015. The speaker series event took place at Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Bowling Green, KY on the evening of February 18, 2016.
Category Archives: General
Since 1995 the City of Bowling Green has participated in the Sister City Program with the City of Kawanishi, Japan, a city of 156,000 located in Hyogo Prefecture near Kobe, Japan. As part of this program WKU Libraries annually exchanges library materials with the public library in the City of Kawanishi. WKU Libraries sends materials related to Kentucky to Japan. This year’s gift from Japan range from novels to the history of Japanese paper, from children’s books to works with amazing photography and art.
Keiko Fujii, Project Manager of Cultural & International Exchanges, and Brian Coutts, DLPS Dept. Head coordinate these exchanges annually.
Among the books received include:
Tokubetsuten Maruyama-Okyo by the Osaka Museum featuring the artwork of 18th century Japanese artist Maruyama Ōkyo.
Toshokan Sensō (Library Wars) and Hankyū Densha (Hankyu Railway) by young adult novelist Hiro Arikawa.
Washi bunkashi by Yasuo Kume about the history of Japanese style of paper known as “washi”.
The gift also included children’s picture books such as 11 Cats and a Pig by Noboru Baba and Tōdai-ji Temple by Takeshi Kobayashi, featuring photography of Tōdai-ji. The 8th century Buddhist temple in Nara, Japan is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site and it also features the world’s largest bronze statue of the Buddha.
On the evening of February 11, 2016 at Barnes & Noble in Bowling Green, KY, WKU Libraries kicks off its spring season of Kentucky Live! with Tom Kimmerer, Chief Scientist at Venerable Trees Inc., in Lexington, KY. Tom Kimmerer talked about his new book Venerable Trees: History, Biology, and Conservation in the Bluegrass. A graduate of the State University of New York (SUNY) College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, with a PhD. in Forestry and Botany from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Kimmerer has studied trees and woodland for over forty years, the last thirty-two of which have been in the Kentucky Bluegrass.
Bowling Green author Molly McCaffrey was the speaker in the Kentucky Live! series on November 19, 2015 at Barnes & Noble Bookstore. She talked about and read from her newest book You Belong to Us: One Baby, Two Sets of Parents, a memoir which tells the story of her experience meeting her biological family just after her thirtieth birthday.
WKU Libraries’ November 12, 2015 “Far Away Places” speaker series event at Barnes & Noble Bookseller, Bowling Green, Kentucky featured Professor Akiko Takenaka, who teaches the History of Modern Japan at the University of Kentucky. She talked about her new book Yasukuni Shrine: History, Memory, and Japan’s Unending Postwar, published this summer by the University of Hawaii Press.
October is Archives Month and in Kentucky the theme was Civil Rights. This year members of Library Special Collections celebrated by co-hosting a Pecha Kucha about Civil Rights with the Kentucky Museum.
A pecha kucha is a powerpoint presentation consisting of 20 slides shown for 20 seconds each so the talk lasts six minutes and forty seconds. Speakers have to hone in on the point and talk fast!
April McCauley – October is American Archives Month – discussion of archives that hold civil rights materials around the nation.
Karen Hogg – Kentucky Marriage Equality Oral History Project – presentation regarding Kentucky attorneys and plaintiffs involved in the recent marriage equality court cases.
Nancy Richey – Introducing the Kentucky African American Encyclopedia – an interesting overview of local people included in this hot off the press volume.
Jonathan Jeffrey – Juliette H. Morgan: A Librarian Civil Rights Hero – a brief biography of Montgomery, Alabama librarian turned activist.
We hope you enjoy our presentations and learn something new. Library Special Collections is housed in the Kentucky Building and our collections are open to everyone Monday – Friday 9 to 4 and most Saturdays 10 – 3.
WKU Libraries’ Educational Resources Center has installed new displays to advertise ERC resources as fall approaches. ERC Library Assistant Rebecca Nimmo was responsible for creating the displays, using her past experience in art installation and curation to better convey information in a visually pleasing and thought-provoking manner.
Patrons will see a Goosebumps-themed Halloween display in the Ellison Die area with a sample of ERC’s collection of spooky juvenile and young adult literature.
Inspired by WKU’s International Year of South Africa there is an art installation in the large display case across from the Circulation desk promoting notable South African figures Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela and South Africa books available in ERC.
Finally Ready Reference display area currently hosts an installation honoring LGBT History Month, with an assortment of juvenile and young adult educational books and novels featuring LBGTQ+ characters.
Susan Bordo, Otis A. Singletary Professor of Humanities, Dept. of Gender & Women’s Studies, University of Kentucky, spoke about her most recent book The Queen with Six Fingers: Anne Boleyn in Fact, Fiction and Fantasy in the Far Away Places event on Wednesday, October 21, at Barnes & Noble in Bowling Green, KY.
John Hardin, Professor of History at WKU, talked about his recently published work The Kentucky African American Encyclopedia in the WKU Libraries-organized Kentucky Live! event on the evening of October 8 at the Barnes & Noble Bookstore in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
WKU Libraries celebrates Banned Books Week between September 27 – October 3 to support the efforts of librarians in promoting intellectual freedom and combating censorship. To mark this week there are Banned Books Week displays on the 5th floor of Cravens library and at the Educational Resources Center (ERC) in Gary Ransdell Hall. All books in the displays are available to be checked out!
The American Library Association maintains a list of the titles and reasons for frequently challenged books.
Below is an excerpt of an article published this week in American Libraries about Banned Books Week and the continued importance of fighting censorship for the freedom to read.
“Banned Books Week Roundup 2015: Recently banned and challenged books in US libraries and elsewhere
George M. Eberhart | September 29, 2015
As Banned Books Weekis celebrated September 27–October 3, it’s helpful to remember that there is still a need for vigilance to ensure the freedom to read. In 2015, books are still challenged (when an individual or group requests the removal or restriction of materials from a library or curriculum) and banned (when materials are removed outright from circulation), not only in the United States but in other countries as well.
Kristin Pekoll, assistant director of the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, says that librarians and teachers often feel frustrated by these efforts to restrict the scope of reading. “More and more, they are reaching out to our office for support because they’re feeling silenced by their administrations,” she says. “While the fear of losing their jobs is real, more often librarians tell me about professional retaliation in the form of book budget cuts or bad evaluations. The theory is that if their lives are made miserable enough, they’ll quit, and the books will be censored because no one is there to defend them.”
Here is a roundup of recent instances of book challenges in US school libraries, as well as one public and one academic library:
- In February, parent Catrenna Lopez initiated a challenge to Gilbert Hernandez’s graphic novelPalomar after her son checked the book out from the Rio Rancho (N.Mex.) High School library, saying the content included “sexual graphics, prostitution, child pornography, child abuse, explicit sexual scenes, nudity.” A review committee met on March 16 and decided by a 5–3 vote that Palomarshould not be removed, but students under 18 would need a parent’s permission before it can be checked out. However, school librarian Brenda McCandless had independently made the decision to remove the book from the system in violation of school policy. (KOAT-TV, Albuquerque, July 7; KUNM-FM, Albuquerque, July 14.)
- In mid-September, Hamilton Boone, the parent of a teen at Satellite High School in Satellite Beach, Florida, wanted Toni Morrison’s novel Beloved pulled from the Advanced Placement summer reading list because of what he called its “porn content.” However, after he admitted that he had not actually read the entire book, the school’s challenge committee unanimously voted to keep it on the reading list. (Melbourne Florida Today, Sept. 11.)
- Two books, The Librarian of Basra and Nasreen’s Secret School, both by Jeanette Winter, werechallenged in the Duval County (Fla.) School District in July on the grounds that they “promote the Koran and praying to Muhammad,” according to Dianne Haines Roberts, grandparent of a student. She wanted the books removed from the 3rd grade curriculum. However, as the National Coalition Against Censorship pointed out in a July 30 letter to School Superintendent Nikolai P. Vitti, “Arguments that the books promote Islam are misguided: Learning about life in an Islamic culture is no more promoting Islam than learning about a Christian character is promoting Christianity.” The school decided to allow parents to opt their children out of reading the books. (WJCT-TV, Jacksonville, Fla., July 13.)
- Allen Burch, principal of Lincoln High School in Tallahassee, Florida, pulled Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time from the summer reading program in August after he received a few dozen complaints from parents about the book’s “profanity and atheism.” According to school policy, challenged books must go through a school review process, but Burch claimed this did not apply to summer reading lists. The Leon County School Board stood by Burch’s decision, but high school student Jaclyn Weinell wrote an op-ed piece for the Tallahassee newspaper that said the school ban was an attack on free thought and praised the book: “Student readers are encouraged to think—about autism, about family, about atheism, and about science—and see the world through the eyes of a 15-year-old narrator with a rather unique viewpoint.” (Tallahassee [Fla.] Democrat, Aug. 13, 24.)
- In early September, Jackie Sims, the mother of a 15-year-old boy at Knox County (Tenn.) Schools’L&N STEM Academy, had objected to Rebecca Skloot’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks when he brought it home as part of his summer reading, calling it “pornographic.” The school fully supported keeping the book, which details the true story of an African-American woman who in 1951 had a sample of her cells taken for research without her knowledge or consent, but Sims seemed determined to challenge the book at the district level. Skloot herself weighed in, saying that Sims had “confused gynecology with pornography” and that her objection was based on a passage that describes Henrietta Lacks’s infidelity and another that discusses her intimate discovery that she had a lump on her cervix. (WBIR-TV, Knoxville, Tenn., Sept. 9.)
- Lee Runyon, principal of West Ashley High School in Charleston, South Carolina, pulled Courtney Summers’s Some Girls Are from a freshmen Honors English summer reading list in late July after aparent complained that the novel’s explicit content describing underage alcohol and drug use, sexual assault, and body image were age-inappropriate. Runyon replaced the book with Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak on the reading list, but did so without giving the school board a chance to review the challenge. Former YA librarian Kelly Jensen responded by collecting 830 donated copies of Some Girls Are and giving them away to teens in the area, with the help of the Charleston County Public Library. (Charleston Post and Courier, July 28; Book Riot, Sept. 4.)
- In May, A. C. Reynolds High School in Asheville, North Carolina, temporarily suspended the use of Khaled Hosseini’s bestselling The Kite Runner in an Honors English class following a complaint from former school board member and parent Lisa Baldwin, who objected to “homosexuality and sexually explicit scenes.” The book was pulled from classrooms, pending review by two committees that finally recommended keeping it. In September, the Buncombe County School Board added a policy allowing teachers to continue using materials that have been challenged until a final decision is made. (Asheville Citizen-Times, May 4, Sept. 3.)
- After a local Tea Party chapter circulated petitions to have two LGBT-themed books removed from the children’s section of the Hood County Library in Granbury, Texas, religious conservatives spoke at a July 14 meeting of the county commissioners and said their objections to This Day in June and My Princess Boy were based on their Christian faith. In the end, the commissioners agreed with the library board and recommended the books stay in the children’s collection. (The Raw Story, July 15.)
- Tara Shultz, a 20-year-old student at Crafton Hills College in Yucaipa, California, and her parents in June attempted to have the school put a disclaimer on the syllabus of Associate Professor Ryan Bartlett’s English 250 fiction course because four of the graphic novels that he uses as course materials contain “lesbian oral sex, suicide, homosexuality, pedophilia . . . murder, torture.” The novels werePersepolis by Marjane Satrapi, Fun Home by Alison Bechdel, Y: The Last Man Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra, and The Sandman Vol. 2: The Doll’s House by Neil Gaiman and various artists. Initially, College President Cheryl Marshall agreed to the disclaimer, but later backpedaled and decided to leave the decision up to individual instructors. (Redlands [Calif.] Daily Facts, June 15;Riverside [Calif.] Press-Enterprise, July 2.)
Two notable instances of book-banning occurred this year in Italy and New Zealand:
- One of the first official acts of the new mayor of Venice, Italy, Luigi Brugnaro, who took office June 15, was to pull nearly 50 children’s books on LGBT topics from libraries in the city’s preschools. Protests immediately erupted from residents, publishers, librarians, and 250 authors, who wrote to the mayor asking to have their own books removed in solidarity with the banned authors. Brugnaro soon reversed course and whittled the titles down to two—Ophélie Texier’s Jean a deux mamans(Jean Has Two Mothers) and Francesca Pardi’s Piccolo uovo (Little Egg), the latter a story about an unhatched egg that encounters multiple types of happy families, including a pair of gay penguins, lesbian rabbits bringing up a family, a single-parent hippo, a mixed-race dog couple, and kangaroos that adopted polar bear cubs. Pardi even wrote to Pope Francis in July about the ban, sending him copies of her books, which, she emphasized, promote the Christian value of tolerance. Then on August 18 English musician Elton John, who owns a house in Venice, criticized the mayor in an Instagram post for politicizing children’s books: “Beautiful Venice is indeed sinking, but not as fast as the boorishly bigoted Brugnaro.” The mayor responded via Twitter, scolding him to stick to the facts and explaining that he was not homophobic, but he wanted to give parents more control over their children’s reading. A scholastic commission has been appointed to examine the books. (New York Times, 18; The Guardian [UK], July 16.)
- A conservative lobbying group, Family First, on September 3 managed to get New Zealand’s Film and Literature Board of Review to place an interim ban on Ted Dawe’s award-winning YA novel Into the River, making it the first book banned in the country in 22 years. The group objected to the book’s explicit language, sexual content, and portrayal of drug use. Any individual, bookstore, library, or school distributing or exhibiting the book is now subject to a stiff fine until the full board makes a ruling. Joanna Mathew, executive director of the Library and Information Association of New Zealand,said she had “read the book, and while there is content in there that is confronting, it doesn’t warrant being banned.” (Auckland New Zealand Herald, 7; The Guardian [UK], Sept. 7.)
The purpose of Banned Books Week is to draw national attention to these efforts to remove or restrict access to books or other materials, even those that some consider unorthodox or dangerous. OIF’s Pekoll summed it up: “The more we talk about these cases and bring the harms of censorship to light, the more courage and endurance librarians will have when they need it the most.”