Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Wandering Librarians

You may have noticed DPL in places where you might not have expected to find us these last couple of months.  We have been increasingly stepping out of the Library building and taking part in community events since our first foray at the Decatur-Morgan Hospital block party in June.  These events provide us with a way to reconnect with Decatur and Morgan County residents.  Read on for tales of our “out-of-office” exploits.

3rd Friday Downtown – June 2015 – October 2015
We attended our first 3rd Friday back in June, and have been delighted to be part of it ever since.  Summer weather notwithstanding, we’ve had a fabulous time providing a LEGO table or crafts for kids to do, on-demand storytimes with patron Frank Adamsky, and DPL-branded swag to those who took our survey.  We used that survey as a chance to touch base with our citizens and find out what people want in a Library.   We also had the opportunity to talk with people about our new programs and services.  We are looking forward to next year’s 3rd Fridays!

United Way “Get on the Bus” Tour – September 2nd, 8:30am
We started out the morning at the United Way of Morgan County office, where we boarded a Boys & Girls Club van and began a tour of the amazing service work being done in our city.  Our first stop was the Volunteer Center of Morgan County, followed by a visit to the Arc of Morgan County.  After that, we visited the home of a lady taking part in the Senior Companion program and then headed to Chestnut Grove Elementary School to meet some Foster Grandparents.  We ended our tour with lunch at the Meals on Wheels distribution center.  (Senior Companions, Foster Grandparents, and Meals on Wheels are all coordinated by the Community Action Partnership.)  We learned so much about the kindness and charity of the people of Decatur.  Each of these groups are doing outstanding work, so we’ve linked them above.  Please take a moment to check out what they do to make our local world a better place!

River Clay Fine Arts Festival – September 26th & 27th
How exciting to be a part of this festival!  We had a tent set up with the vendors where we extolled the glories of Decatur Public Library to passers-by.  Our resident artist, Heather (you know her from the Reference Desk) came up with a wonderful make-and-take art project that involved upcycling old book pages, the art of Zen-tangle, and found poetry.  We had a lot of fun and were very impressed by the level of professionalism and skill that went into creating what we are sure will be a yearly event.

Rocket City Lit Fest – October 10th & 11th
This event took us to Huntsville for two marathon days.  The Rocket City Lit Fest also had its first year and we had a great time reaching out to people.  We gave away free books (from a donation we received of 50 cases of the same title) and invited everyone to come see us when in Decatur.  We met a few Decatur and Hartselle residents while there and made contact with a lot of local authors who will hopefully visit our library in the future.  

Some of these events were exhausting but it is always worthwhile to get out and talk to people.  Our library is a pretty wonderful place and we want to make sure everyone knows what it has to offer!  If you would be interested in having the library be present at your event, please contact Rhonda or Stephanie at stephrhonda@decatur.lib.al.us. 

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Why we love to read banned books

This year’s Banned Books Week is September 27th – October 3rd and we are excited to celebrate it!    The focus of this year’s celebration is Young Adult books.

"Young Adult books are challenged more frequently than any other type of book," said Judith Platt, chair of the Banned Books Week National Committee. "These are the books that speak most immediately to young people, dealing with many of the difficult issues that arise in their own lives, or in the lives of their friends. These are the books that give young readers the ability to safely explore the sometimes scary real world. This Banned Books Week is a call to action, to remind everyone that young people need to be allowed the freedom to read widely, to read books that are relevant for them, and to be able to make their own reading choices.”

Young Adult (YA) titles often end up on the American Library Association’s Top Ten most Challenged Books list (six out of ten were YA titles in 2014).   Most challenged books are objected to on the basis of mature content and age inappropriateness.  We most definitely agree that not all books are appropriate for all readers, but censorship is not the solution.  Decatur Public Library policy states:

The library’s philosophy is that censorship is a purely individual matter, and while anyone is free to reject for oneself any book or other material which he or she may find inappropriate, he or she cannot exercise the right of censorship to restrict the freedom of others. The library does remove material found to provide inaccurate information or is of poor scholarship.

We leave it to our patrons to decide what they do and do not want to read.  We also hold that simply reading a book does not indicate that one accepts or agrees with that content; reading a book about Hitler does not mean condoning anti-Semitism.  Intellectual freedom matters and Decatur Public Library encourages that freedom.   

BannedBooksWeek.org is a hub for information about how individuals and institutions can get involved. Banned Books Week is sponsored by the American Booksellers Association, American Booksellers for Free Expression, American Library Association, American Society of Journalists and Authors, Association of American Publishers, Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, Freedom to Read Foundation, National Association of College Stores, National Coalition Against Censorship, National Council of Teachers of English, People For the American Way Foundation, PEN American Center, and Project Censored.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

October's Adult Reading Challenge "Clues"

It’s hard to believe but the end is in sight for this challenge. This blog will give you two of the last four clues for this year. You may start turning in your “Letter of Marque” (reading log) to StephRhonda after the last two clues are released on the second day of November. For those who need longer you will have until 5:00pm on December 1, 2015 to complete the challenge. In order to be eligible for the prize drawings you will need to see Stephanie or Rhonda to have your log validated. If we are not in the small study room on a day you come into the library, please ask the circulation desk to buzz us at our desk in the back. One of us is usually here 9-5:30 most days and 2 weekends of the month we cover the reference desk. We will post in another blog the hours we will be in the library next month so you can make sure to catch us. Thanks so much for playing along this year.

The clues for this month are:

Ghosts: Read any book that contains a ghost. This should get you in the mood for Halloween.

Book from Friends’ Market: Book must be purchased from the Friends of the Library Used Book Room (in the hallway across from the public restrooms). Just in time for this clue the books are ½ price this month. You can’t beat that.

Witches/Magic: Book must contain witches or the use of magic.

October Author: Read any book by an author who was born in the month of October.  A few suggestions are Anne Rice, Elmore Leonard, Jackie Collins, and Pat Conroy.
The two released clues are both areas located on the map you received when you signed up for the challenge.

Young Adult: Read any book found in Young Adult Cove. This ties in with the first of the month because Banned Book Week is being celebrated September 27th-October 3rd.  This year the emphasis is on young adult books because they are the ones most likely to be targeted for censorship.

Science Fiction/Fantasy: Read any book found in Sci-Fi Sound and it will count. This could be a fantasy or science fiction book.  Refer to the map to find these book locations in our library.