Why One Librarian Banned a Book

Scott R. DiMarco of the Mansfield University of Pennsylvania campus library writes:

The story begins with two staff members and one librarian who enthusiastically created and ran a week of interactive programs for banned book week. The turnout was tepid. A panel discussion on the subject drew six people. Five were librarians and staff members. The sixth was Dennis Miller, our public relations director, who recently published his second novel, One Woman’s Vengeance. As we talked about various books that are still being banned at different locations around the country, Miller said, “You should ban mine. It has sex, violence and adult language.”

He was joking, but his statement emphasized that as long as one book can be banned, any book is a target.

Two of my staff members and one librarian thought it over and came to me a couple days later, suggesting that we should, indeed, ban it during Banned Books Week. We talked over the ramifications and I agreed. We contacted Miller, an ardent opponent of censorship.

He agreed to participate.

Full Story: College and Research Libraries News: Why I banned a book: How censorship can impact a learning community

First They Came For The Libraries

Damien Williams on library closures:

People who know about but don’t fully understand history may ask, “Why do conquerors and fanatics always go for the Libraries?” Our most famous example has always been the Library of Alexandria, but it is by no means the sole instance. And if you take a look at that list, you can see something of a distinction: sometimes invaders burn libraries and loot them, and sometimes they just burn them. Why is that?

It’s because a library, more than any other thing humans have ever made, is the physical promise of a wider, more inclusive world.

A library teaches us about the potential for human knowledge to bring us to a better place.
A library challenges our perceptions. A library shows us that there is more to religion than zealotry, more to belief than delusion, more to the search for meaning than fanatical heresies.

A library presents to us, gives to us, for free, the benefits of human inquiry and allows us the time, and space, and resources to connect all of these things in ways that no one before has managed to do.

Full Story: The Breaking Time: First they came for the libraries

What’s Next for Libraries?

I’ve mentioned only in passing this incredible comment from MetaFilter on the dismal state of funding for libraries even as they become more essential. It’s too long to reproduce here and an excerpt won’t do, so go and read it and come back.

OK, so then what’s next for libraries? I don’t know, but there are a few people trying to figure it out.

Your Future Library is a group working to create an online journal for sharing best practices on information access. They’re hoping to bridge the gap between local libraries and those interested in digital dissemination of information. There’s not much on their site yet (they gave me a flyer at ContactCon), but you can sign-up for a newsletter to keep in touch.

Meanwhile Fiarce Dunne, a librarian interested in the intersection between local libraries and makerlabs (and the guy who brought he DARPA/MAKE connection to my attention), has started a project called Library Cult which is also in early stages.

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