Tag Archives: books

Freedom to read (#BannedBooksWeek)

The last week in September is Banned Books Week when publishers, booksellers, librarians, teachers, and readers concerned with the freedom to express ideas share stories concerning censorship. According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), censorship is “the suppression of words, images, or ideas that are “offensive,” happens whenever some people succeed in imposing their personal political or moral values on others. ” Banned Books Week is a time for individuals to consider how best to respond to these types of attacks on freedom.

Most banned books of 2020

The American Library Association (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom tracked 156 challenges to materials and services in 2020. Of the 273 books challenged last year, the books most often targeted for removal from library shelves, along with the rationale used by communities to restrict their being assigned in schools , include the following:

  1. George by Alex Gino
    Reasons: Challenged, banned, and restricted for LGBTQIA+ content, conflicting with a religious viewpoint, and not reflecting “the values of our community”
  2. Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds
    Reasons: Banned and challenged because of author’s public statements, and because of claims that the book contains “selective storytelling incidents” and does not encompass racism against all people
  3. All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely
    Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity, drug use, and alcoholism, and because it was thought to promote anti-police views, contain divisive topics, and be “too much of a sensitive matter right now”
  4. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
    Reasons: Banned, challenged, and restricted because it was thought to contain a political viewpoint and it was claimed to be biased against male students, and for the novel’s inclusion of rape and profanity
  5. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
    Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity, sexual references, and allegations of sexual misconduct by the author
  6. Something Happened in Our Town: A Child’s Story About Racial Injustice by Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins, and Ann Hazzard, illustrated by Jennifer Zivoin
    Reasons: Challenged for “divisive language” and because it was thought to promote anti-police views
  7. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
    Reasons: Banned and challenged for racial slurs and their negative effect on students, featuring a “white savior” character, and its perception of the Black experience
  8. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
    Reasons: Banned and challenged for racial slurs and racist stereotypes, and their negative effect on students
  9. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
    Reasons: Banned and challenged because it was considered sexually explicit and depicts child sexual abuse
  10. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
    Reasons: Challenged for profanity, and it was thought to promote an anti-police message

Where to learn more

Join like-minded individuals interested in preserving the freedom to speak, read, and learn at various digital Banned Books Week events sponsored by the Banned Books Week Coalition, PEN America, and libraries around the country.

Reading free ebooks while social distancing

Among other topics, our March 23 blog post, Finally, a Coronavirus-less message from your library! (https://blogs.nvcc.edu/lolibrary/2020/03/23/finally-a-coronavirus-less-message-from-your-library/), featured a how-to for finding eBooks in the NVCC library. There are resources for free ebooks that are not limited to NOVA students. For example, “HathiTrust is a not-for-profit collaborative of academic and research libraries” that have digitized more than 17 million items, including books that are out of copyright (hathitrust.org).

The Internet Archive’s (archive.org) Open Library (openlibrary.org) allows ebooks to be borrowed as one would from a traditional library. Individuals can sign-up for free and then log in to search for the books they might wish to borrow.

One of the earliest sites for free ebooks, Project Gutenberg (Gutenberg.org) allows users to search for a specific title, browse the catalog, or limit by book category (e.g., classics, children’s books, crime, education, fine arts, geography, history religion, science, social sciences). In addition to English, there are bookshelves for books in German, French, Italian, and Portuguese.

Several sources exist for downloading PDFs of “the classics, ” including ManyBooks (manybooks.net), PDFBooksWorld (pdfbooksworld.com) and Feedbooks (feedbooks.com) – Click “Public Domain” in the top navigation bar.

Two databases are a product of the OAPEN Foundation, a Netherlands-based not-for-profit organization: Directory of Open Access Books and the Open Access Publishing in European Networks
(OAPEN) Library.

• The Directory of Open Access Books (doabooks.org) strives to increase the discoverability of Open Access Books. It includes academic, peer-reviewed books, meaning that it limits its collection to open access publications that meet academic standards.

• The OAPEN Library (www.oapen.org) is a collection of freely accessible academic books, primarily in the humanities and social sciences, developed under a 30-month grant, 2008-2010. During the grant period, OAPEN worked with publishers to build a quality-controlled collection of open access books and digitally preserve the content.

eTextbooks

Our March 25 blog post, Working from home: wfh (https://blogs.nvcc.edu/lolibrary/2020/03/25/working-from-home-wfh/), shared with you the good news that NOVA students have access to textbooks via VitalSource (https://bookshelf.vitalsource.com/#/user/signin). Another vendor, Red Shelf (https://studentresponse.redshelf.com/), has negotiated with publishers to open their digital textbooks to college students. Use your NOVA email address to sign-up and you can access up to seven free ebooks, textbooks included, before May 25, 2020.

Your NOVA librarians are compiling a list of good reads. If you’re reading an interesting book, please let us know the title and why you think it’s a good book to recommend to others. We’ll add it to the list and share it in the NOVA community. Simply complete the form below.

LGBT History Month and Welcome to Our Blog!

Hello Loudoun Campus Library users! This is the new blog for your library. You can follow us here for longer updates than you might find on social media.

To get us started…this month is LGBT History Month, and today’s post is featuring some books on LGBTQ  artists that you can find right here at your campus library!

LGBT History Month & Robert Mapplethorpe
Loudoun Campus Library celebrates LGBT History Month during October. If you’re interested in this book on the photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, click on the image to request it!

LGBT History Month is put on by Equality Forum every year, and if you are interested in learning more about the official month, you can visit their site here.

For us at Loudoun Campus Library, LGBTQ History Month is simply about celebrating the diversity our community! We have put together a display on the 3rd floor of some LGBT artists, musicians and writers and those who have dealt with those themes in their work. Please feel free to come peruse and check one out today!

Here are some of the titles on display…click on the thumbnail to request the item or see more information! The images were found on GoodReads, where you can also go to find numerous reviews of each item.

Image result for annie leibovitz at work
Annie Leibovitz is a photographer best known for her photographs of high profile celebrities and politicians. In this book, she describes the history of her career and some of the events that helped to shape it.
Romaine Brooks was an artist considered part of the Symbolist movement working in France in the early twentieth century. She was famously a lesbian whose arguably most important relationship was to a woman named Natalie Barney. This book chronicles that relationship and the time in which these women lived.
Interested in cinema? This book might be for you! As the title states, this book is a history of gay and lesbian film in America. Some sample chapter titles include “Hollywood and the Sexual Revolution” and “A Matter of Life and Death, AIDS, activism, film and video” among several others.

There are many more from where that came from! Come visit the library to check out the display anytime during October.