Friday, September 15, 2006

Banned Books Week is coming!!!

For more information on Banned Books Week, visit this ALA page.

It's amazing to me what people challenge. I mean Captain Underpants--c'mon you just got to be kidding! This one is my favorite Captain Underpants story. It's got the coolest name generator. Dav Pilkey, the author says, on his website:
"The thing about name-calling is that it's totally based on your given name. Obviously, somebody named Johnny Butts is going to be teased a lot more than somebody named Larry Drake. But what if there was a chart which would level the playing field? What if you could take anybody's name, regardless of whether it was funny or not, and insert it into an equation which made everybody's name equally ridiculous? That way, nobody would be singled out. Larry Drake could no longer make fun of Johnny Butts (because Booger Bubbletush is just as stupid as Poopsie Toiletfanny)."

So read Captain Underpants and change your outlook on life!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Miriam again

You should really read her Comic of the Week.

Honestly. I love this woman so much--she's so sharp. I don't ever want to let go.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Five Years Ago

Five years ago today, I woke up thinking the worst thing I'd be experiencing was holding my husband's hand while he had a bone marrow biopsy. It would be his first since starting Gleevec, the miraculous drug that has put his leukemia in remission. BMBs are painful, but necessary. I was glad I could be there to hold his hand.

It was a beautiful day, here too. I drove to the KU Medical Center to meet him and was blaring my Spike Jones tape out the window. A man walking his dog, looked at me all annoyed.

My husband met me at the entrance to the medical center and said, "There's been an attack!" I thought to myself, what, the Israelis and the Palestinians are at it again?

He told me, no, the World Trade Center, and we walked hand in hand to the waiting room, where we sat glued to the TV there. That he even had the BMB was surprising. And then we both went to work.

From work (at the time I was a synagogue librarian), employees speculated about the need to get gas now, people called their children's schools to see if they should take them home. I left early, glad my tank was full and went up to my son's school. The principal was accomodating those who wanted to take their kids home. I decided to leave him there for the rest of the day.

Make things seem as normal as possible.

That's all I'll say.

Except for, no I do not feel any safer. I felt safer in the couple of days following the attacks when you knew that the person driving in the car next to you was thinking what you were thinking. When you knew a traffic jam was because we were all stopping to put something in a firefighter's boot or helmet.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Radical? Militant? Librarian! Yes!

I do wear a button on my ID lanyard for work. The button says: Radical Militant Librarian, Defending Access, Defending Freedom, Defending Privacy.
Defending Access means that I believe in a reader's (or watcher's or listener's) right to have whatever materials he or she wants. If the library user is a child, it's NOT my job to say, "no you can't read that!" based on my own taste and sensibilities.

I can guide a child to pick what is best for her reading abilities and interests. After that, if the parents want to censor, it may grate on my nerves, but that is up to the parents. Challenged books, by the way, once the media gets the list out, fly off the shelves. Challenged and banned books will always be read in secrecy: under the covers with a flashlight, outside in some quiet place, at your friend's house--the friend with more liberal parents.

And by the way (at least in my library system), it takes a subpoena to the library director herself, to wrench the record of what you read out of our computers. And once material is returned, there's no record that you ever checked it out in the first place (unless there are fines to pay--then, once they're paid, the record disappears).

Anyway, that's one part of my job I really treasure: defending access, freedom and privacy.

That said, I regret that library cards do expire and we do require some kind of proof of who you are and where you live. We want to make sure we get information to you in a timely manner (like if you requested a book) and with email service, we'll even warn you in advance when your materials are due, so you can renew them online, in person or by phone.

And we do this for free. So, if you have a library card about to expire, please take a utility bill or your current driver's license--something that will make it easier for the underpaid clerk at the Circ desk, or the underpaid librarian at the Info desk to help you maintain your access to the best free service in the world: your public library.

By the way, Beth Thames, in the Huntsville Times wrote a lovely opinion piece on challenged books. She imagines a favorite teacher saying, "That's just nonsense," to the notion that reading and life have to be sunny.

Well, to the challengers of books, I'd like to say something stronger and much more salty. But for now, I'll just wear my button and make sure everyone who wants one, gets a card. And gets to read whatever she or he wants to read.