Did you know that the ALA recommends a number of things for us to do to support our library workers? Recommendations include following the news and social media to be informed of organizations working to censor library or school materials, programs or curriculum. Don't forget to show up at school or library board meetings. Remember the ALA supports a parent's right to restrict reading materials for their own child but not for all readers. Oppose legislation in your state. Educate family and your community about censorship and the First Amendment. Write to your local newspaper. Find and join organizations like the Freedom to Read Foundation.
Did you know that there is no legal definition of "hate speech" under US law? Hate speech is protected by the First Amendment. But hate speech can lose its First Amendment protections if the speech is an incitement to imminent lawless action, speech threatens serious bodily harm or the speech that cause an immediate breach of the peace (fighting words.)
For more discussion about hate speech and the First Amendment visit FIRE
Did you know that ALA's Freedom to Read statement is 70 years old? (It was first adopted June 25, 1953.) This statement states that the freedom to read is essential to our democracy and guaranteed by our constitution.
"Freedom keeps open the path of novel and creative solutions, and enables change to come by choice. Every silencing of a heresy, every enforcement of an orthodoxy, diminishes the toughness and resilience of our society and leaves it the less able to deal with controversy and difference.
... The freedom to read and write is almost the only means for making generally available ideas or manners of expression that can initially command only a small audience.
... We believe that every American community must jealously guard the freedom to publish and to circulate, in order to preserve its own freedom to read. We believe that publishers and librarians have a profound responsibility to give validity to that freedom to read by making it possible for readers to choose freely from a variety of offerings."
Did you know that (ALA's) Library Bill of Rights states that, "Librarians and governing bodies should maintain that parents- and only parents- have the right to restrict the access of their children- and only their children- to library services."
Censorship by librarians of constitutionally protected speech, whether for protection or for any other reason violates the First Amendment.
Visit the Kids' Right to Read Project.
Did you know that J.D. Salinger's, "The Catcher in the Rye" is famous as the most censored, banned and challenged book between 1966 and 1975. Reasons given? It was considered "obscene" with an "excess of vulgar language, sexual scenes, and things concerning moral issues."
For Banned Books Week list of events visit Events from Banned Book Week
Banned Books week is October 1-7, 2023. Visit Banned Books Week
This year Banned Books Week is October 1 - 7, 2023.
It's sad that we have to have a whole week to highlight this.
Book banning is as old as writing itself. There is something powerful about the written word. Words contain our hopes, our dreams and our ideas. Words contained in books, written on posters and pamphlets are how those hopes and dreams and ideas can live forever.
The history of book banning reaches far into history. Books have been banned because they are "obscene" or because they are "hate literature", banned for political reasons, or for religious ones, for blasphemy and for giving offense, for being "socially corrupting" and for being too critical of those in power. Books have been banned for being "immoral" and for heresy, for featuring Jewish characters, and being critical of white supremacy. For being subversive, and anti-government. For depicting sexuality and for promoting homosexuality. For celebrating black culture and for anti-slavery content.
The list of reasons why a book or piece of writing is "unacceptable" is a long one. Sometimes the supposed reasons are well meaning- "Let's protect the children," and sometimes they are not.
In the USA the American Libraries Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom monitors attempts to censor books, materials and services across public, school and academic libraries. The ALA reports that in 2023 from January 1 to August 31 preliminary data shows a record surge of challenges in Public Libraries. The OIF reported 695 attempts to censor library materials, and 3,923 total titles were targeted for censorship.
The suppression of ideas, and speech has no place in an open and democratic society.
In case we have forgotten, the First Amendment states that
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
I am so grateful to the wonderfully talented Claudie C. Bergeron for her wonderful book cover designs. She is such an amazingly talented artist.
So far we have completed the first 4 books of the series. To come is book 5's new cover. I am still working on book 6 - so when that is ready to be released, Claudie will be designing that cover as well.
Here are the covers...
I love how rainbow bright this cover is. It's amazing to me how well Claudie brought the characters to life.
For book 2 there are actually two images - one for the front cover and the back image.
I wanted to show a little bit of Caitlin's amazing attic bedroom. Claudie nailed it.
My favorite cover so far is for Book 3, the Wild Turkeys.
In here is the Book 4 cover...
Thank you, Claudie!
Finally. It. Is. Over.
I started with book one many years ago. A friend (thanks Mike) started reading them, and then I too was hooked. And now it is over. I ambled into the local store yesterday around noon, and quietly bought the book. I didn't reserve it, I didn't pre pay or stay up all night. I ignored the hype and simply bought it.
And then I read it. Twice. I am a quick read.
The final installment of the Harry Potter epic is 759 pages short. It answers all our unanswered questions, and ties up (or attempts to ) all the loose ends. Do not flip to the back of the book. One, you'll spoil the ending, and two there are a number of twists that will make it disappointing.
On the whole I am glad it is all over. I found the book overlong, and the plot unnecessary convoluted. In short its a mess- all over the place. Most of the later books lack the tightness of plot of the earlier books. This one like Half Blood Prince and the Order of Phoenix is all over the place. It left me exhausted. The length of the book and its convoluted plot twists and turns highlight the fact that Rowling's writing is not that good. But who's complaining?
Out of all 7 books my favorite still is the Prisoner of Azkaban. With any luck the next movie will be a combination of Half Blood Prince and Deathly Hallows. But I won't hold my breath.