Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Signs of the Season

Bernie's japanese maple is valiantly attempting to provide the fall color that is sorely lacking here in Houston for now.

Each of these leaves is about the size of a dime, so I really appreciate the effort put forth.

We have had a nip of fall weather, that is, it has been under 90 degrees a few times this week. Break out the sweaters!

Another sign of the season: Banned Book Week in the library. The head librarian and I worked together on the idea, which is celebrated each year in conjunction with Constitution/Bill of Rights week.

The red "Censored" sign was from other years. My contribution was the idea of having a place to write how you feel about vigilante censorship.

Interestingly enough, students have actually stopped and taken the time to write their feeling.
I came up with the theme: Do books challenge freedom, or do books make you free?

I have hugely mixed feeling about some of the more recently challenged books. It is one thing to fight for books that are politically or religously expressive. Its another thing when the book is just crude and lewd and violent, all at the same time.

Personally, I just gross out at young adult (ages 12-17) targeted books that are about sexual abuse and sexual acting out in extremely graphic language, and yes, pictures.

And books explaining how to do things that are illegal, such as how to raise pot. Heck, why not a book on how to steal cars? Kite checks? Molest children (oops, actually that IS what some of the books are about.)

I had to think a LONG time before I became a librarian about what it would be like to help people find book, and for me to BUY books that I find despicable, or in conflict with my personal values.
Sometimes it is difficult for me. I do it because I would rather have access to all for all, than risk ever having someone else decide for me what I can or can not have access to.

Tough topic. Thomas Jefferson donated his collection of 10,000 books to the US government to begin the library of Congress. I am sure there was not a single "rape is fun" book in the mix, nor any drawings of human excretement as an art form. Yet today books on those topics are available at tax payer expense to one and all.

I'm also sure King George was livid at some of Jefferson's books.

I am also sure that MOST of the objectionable books are objected to because most people feel children shouldn't be exposed to certain topics.

I am personally sure that every parent should their filter their own children's early in life reading, and be their teacher, which means making sure their child knows why some books are not worthy of their time, and are harmful to one's digestive system (re: some reading makes you sick to your stomach. Stephen King makes me sick, but I am a tad sensitive.)

Enough on that.

In other scary news, my neighbor across the street and two doors down has her yard decorated for Halloween. On this day, Sept 20.

I'd like to suggest a ban on Halloween decorating in September.

Boos on any September "Boo!"

It just creeps me out. Posted by Picasa

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