It’s Banned Books Week!

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“Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear.” – Harry S. Truman

“Don’t join the book burners. Don’t think you are going to conceal thoughts by concealing evidence that they ever existed.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower

“I am mortified to be told that, in the United States of America, the sale of a book can become a subject of inquiry, and of criminal inquiry too.” – Thomas Jefferson

All of this is our way of letting you know that this week (September 27th through October 4th) is Banned Books Week.  According to the American Library Association (ALA), this week “celebrates the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one’s opinion even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular and stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints to all who wish to read them.” (via)

Celebrate your freedom and read a banned book!  Looking for some examples?  Here’s the ALA’s list of most frequently challenged books of 2007 (via):

1 ) “And Tango Makes Three,” by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell
Reasons: Anti-Ethnic, Sexism, Homosexuality, Anti-Family, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group

2 ) The Chocolate War,” by Robert Cormier
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Violence

3 ) “Olive’s Ocean,” by Kevin Henkes
Reasons: Sexually Explicit and Offensive Language

4 ) “The Golden Compass,” by Philip Pullman
Reasons:  Religious Viewpoint

5 ) “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” by Mark Twain
Reasons:  Racism

6 ) “The Color Purple,” by Alice Walker
Reasons: Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language,

7 ) “TTYL,” by Lauren Myracle
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

8 ) “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” by Maya Angelou
Reasons:  Sexually Explicit

9 ) “It’s Perfectly Normal,” by Robie Harris Reasons:  Sex Education, Sexually Explicit

10)  “The Perks of Being A Wallflower,” by Stephen Chbosky
Reasons:  Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

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Friendly Faces, Both New and Familiar

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You’ve probably seen some new folks around the reference desk this semester, or even some familiar people on different schedules than you’ve come to expect, maybe even in different places.  No, we’re not messing with your heads – though the idea occurs to us from time to time, I assure you – there have been changes afoot!  So take notes, there may be a quiz later.

First of all, welcome to Jenifer Bond, who is both our new Assistant Library Director and Reference Librarian.  She has worked with us in the past as a substitute reference librarian in the past (sort of like a relief pitcher, just with information), so you may already recognize her.  We’re all quite happy to have her aboard now as a full-time member of our staff.

Reference Librarian Laura Kohl is now the head of the Reference department, so you’ll probably be seeing her more often than ever.  A few of you may even have her as your Foundations for Learning (FFL) instructor.  Congratulations, Laura!

Colleen Anderson has stepped down as head of Reference and is currently enjoying semi-retirement, still working with us part-time as the E-Resources Instruction Librarian.

Part-time Reference Librarian Maura Keating is now with us full-time, so you’ll definitely be seeing her around more often.

Last but not least, part-time Reference Librarian Samantha Cabral has recently left to take on a full-time Librarian position at Rivier College in Nashua, NH.  We’re sad to see her go, but we’re very happy for her and wish her success.

And we’re currently interviewing for a couple of openings, so you’ll soon be seeing even more new faces around here.  Be sure to keep your library scorecards updated!

Also Elsewhere on Campus: “Super Size Me” director Spurlock to speak.

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From the press release:

Filmmaker Morgan Spurlock to speak at Bryant

Best known for “Super Size Me,” Spurlock’s talk is the first event of the new Student Arts and Speaker Series.

Filmmaker Morgan Spurlock, director of “Super Size Me,” a documentary that examined the health effects of eating nothing but McDonald’s for a month, will present a talk on Tuesday, September 23, at 7 p.m. in Janikies Theatre. The event is sponsored by the new Student Arts and Speaker Series (SASS).

Students and staff members can pickup tickets in the Center for Student Involvement on the third floor of the Bryant Center. Members of the community can reserve tickets beginning on Monday, September 21 by calling (401) 232-6160.

Click here or here for more information about the event and related programs.

Elsewhere on campus: “Deadliest Catch” producer to speak

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From the press release:

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 22
7 P.M.
JANIKIES THEATRE

Paul Gasek will speak about his experiences as an executive producer for the Discovery Channel and discuss the role of television in promoting the study of nature. He is an Emmy award winning executive producer and the senior science editor for the Discovery Channel. He has overseen hundreds of hours of programming, including “Deadliest Catch,” “Discovery Project Earth,” and “Engineering the Universe,” to name a few. The current projects that he will discuss and show clips from include “Global Warming: What You Need to Know” with Tom Brokaw and “Secrets of the Dinosaur Mummy,” a work-in-progress series on searching for valuable shipwrecks.

They don’t let me out of the library very often, but I’ll have to make an effort to get over and check this out.

Reunion @ Homecoming

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Welcome back, alumni and friends, to Bryant University for the 2008 Reunion @ Homecoming.

Click here for a complete schedule of the weekend’s events.

And when you visit the Douglas & Judith Krupp Library, be sure to check out the exhibit of various bits of past and present Bryant memorabilia in the glass cases in the lobby area between the library and the Heidi and Walter Stepan Grand Hall.  It looks really fantastic.

Review: “Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig”

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(Review by Sam Grabelle, Writing Specialist and FFL Instructor with the Bryant Writing Center.)

Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig
by Jonathan Eig
(Simon & Schuster, 2005)

I am not a baseball fan and have never understood batting averages, but I have learned that baseball makes for great reading. I’m not sure there is another sport that translates as well to the page. I was surprised when Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Wait Till Next Year became one of my favorite memoirs.

When a very close family friend was diagnosed with ALS, I needed to know what it was, what it’s going to do to him, and who this man was whose name is synonymous with this still incurable disease. Jonathan Eig’s definitive biography, Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig (Simon & Schuster, 2005) leaped out at me from the thrift store shelf a few weeks before I would join my friend and his incredible team of supporters at this year’s ALS Association’s Walk to D’Feet ALS. I finished the book the night before meeting everyone at the boardwalk to celebrate our nearly $10,000 fundraising success. (See a photo here.)

I felt closer to my friend after reading the book, but I also felt closer to those at the Walk who sported #4 Yankee jerseys; the first uniform number, I had just learned, to be retired with its player. The last few chapters of Eig’s book describing the progression of Gehrig’s disease were hard to get through and it is not necessary for me to review them here. What I’d like to do is share just a few of the things I learned about Lou Gehrig, the man, that have stayed with me. It is a tribute I make between the lines to the man I have known all my life and, as Eig clearly believes about Gehrig, should not ever be defined by this awful disease.

I believe that Eig gives us the greatest opportunity to remember him by something else with this simple, unadorned passage: “Gehrig, who played in more interracial games than most, was one of the few white ballplayers of his era to go on record in support of integration. ‘There is no room in baseball for discrimination,’ he said once. ‘It is our national pastime and a game for all.’ (p.109)

As a bibliophile, this understated moment is also one of my favorites: After talking to a reporter in 1936 during the All-Star Games, “Gehrig reached for the check and told [the reporter] he was eager to get back to the hotel so he could finish reading a book.” (p.211)

Eig’s book not only inspired my admiration for Lou Gehrig, the man, but also a nostalgia for a time in professional sports and celebrity way before my own.

Lou Gehrig…was a national hero and superstar athlete who enjoyed few of fame’s rewards. He exemplified the nation’s most cherished virtues. He had worked hard, climbed from poverty, and been kind to his mother. He was handsome, strong, and well behaved. Yet he had made no effort to capitalize on the Horatio Alger story that was his life. He was content to play the game he loved, play it hard, and go home to a nice, quiet dinner… [Babe] Ruth would make more money endorsing breakfast cereal than most players earned over the course of their entire careers. Gehrig had few endorsement contracts… Ruth had already been the subject of several biographies, but no one wrote books about Gehrig. (p.178)

Thank you Jonathan Eig, for writing this one.