Monday, September 26, 2011

Celebrate Your Freedom to Read!

(ALA 2011) -Banned Books Week (BBW) is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment. Held during the last week of September, Banned Books Week highlights the benefits of free and open access to information while drawing attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted bannings of books across the United States.

Intellectual freedom—the freedom to access information and express ideas, even if the information and ideas might be considered unorthodox or unpopular—provides the foundation for Banned Books Week. BBW stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints for all who wish to read and access them.

The books featured during Banned Books Week have been targets of attempted bannings. Fortunately, while some books were banned or restricted, in a majority of cases the books were not banned, all thanks to the efforts of librarians, teachers, booksellers, and members of the community to retain the books in the library collections. Imagine how many more books might be challenged—and possibly banned or restricted—if librarians, teachers, and booksellers across the country did not use Banned Books Week each year to teach the importance of our First Amendment rights and the power of literature, and to draw attention to the danger that exists when restraints are imposed on the availability of information in a free society.

For more information on banned and challenged material check out:

Monday, September 19, 2011

Moss Bluff Book Chat: September 6, 2011

Below is a summary of our discussion on the August “Book of the Month:” Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen.

Water for Elephants follows Jacob Jankowski, now in his nineties, remembering his time as a vet with a struggling circus during the Great Depression. Gruen’s extensive research shows in her ability to capture the circus atmosphere and lifestyle of that time period.

Readers had an overall positive response to the novel, which most agreed was an interesting piece of historical fiction. While Gruen’s details and descriptions of the circus aspect of the story are admirable, the group all noted how wonderfully she handled an elderly character. Many agreed that such a realistic and positive depiction of an older character is unfortunately very rare in contemporary literature.

You can find copies of the novel at your local branch or in our digital collection!

If you’ve already read Water for Elephants, feel free to share your thoughts on the novel in the comments. Agree or disagree with the Book Club? Let us know!