Readers, as we all know, Ferguson, Missouri has been in a continual state of tension and unrest since the August 9th shooting of unarmed black teen Michael Brown by Officer Darren Wilson. Protests swelled on the 24th of November after Wilson was not indicted for any of the charges brought againts him, charges, according to Prosecutor Robert P. McCulloch , which ranged from “first-degree murder to involuntary manslaughter.”
Although many public services, including public schools, closed their doors to Ferguson residents after the verdict, the Ferguson Public Library remained open, scheduling impromptu classes for students out of school and providing a space for businesses to meet if their establishments had been hit by looters or arsonists.
More than just providing necessary services, the Ferguson Library, with Director Scott Bonner at the helm, has created a refuge for patrons. Donations have been pouring in, and Bonner hopes that these donations could help support a full-time children’s services staff member. In the meantime, he has been putting together “healing kits” for local children, each containing books about dealing with traumatic events as well as a stuffed animal for the child to keep. As Bonner says,
When there’s a need, we try to find a way to meet it. I have a very broad definition of librarianship.
In times of trial, it is heartening to hear about the very real good that libraries champion, day in and day out.
Hey Readers! Cool development in the spreading phenomena of the Little Free Library. Kim Kozlowski has spearheaded an effort to build 313 little libraries in the city of Detroit. Kozlowski has explained that she wants Detroit to have the most little free libraries in one area in the world – an effort to combat Detroit’s battered public image.
“I thought it would be exciting to raise money and put the libraries in various places around Detroit,” said Kozlowski. “We’ve had some pretty bad monikers, like murder capital, and I thought we could flip it and make it the little library capital.”
We’ll keep our eyes peeled to see how the continuing construction of these little guys goes! Props to everyone involved in the project – very inspiring.
Do you love to bake and cook, but have no cash to buy specialty appliances or room to store them? Look no further than the Kitchen Library in Toronto, a non-profit started by Dayna Boyer, a Canadian food enthusiast. “There’s a whole revolution happening around home cooking and being in charge of what goes into your food,” explains Boyer.
The Kitchen Library is open 4 days a week to anyone over 18. Members must pay an annual fee of $50, and can check out items for 3-5 days (depending upon the appliance). Items range from canners to bread and pasta makers; juicers to chocolate fountains. If items are returned broken, the annual member fees generate enough money to fix or replace them. There are also fees for lateness, which run from $1-5 a day.
The Kitchen Library does have its critics. “I think it’s a bad idea from a design standpoint because everything in the kitchen is designed around the appliances,” said Vince Felicitta, the owner of Brown Felicitta Design. “You can’t design properly if the appliances are constantly changing.”
In any case, the emergence of such non-profits as the Kitchen Library is an interesting and growing trend, one that signifies a change in how we relate to space and to objects. While from a design standpoint I can understand the necessity of permanent fixtures, from a financial and social standpoint I think that projects like the Kitchen Library may be where the future is heading. Thoughts?
For more info, check out Dayna Boyers Kitchen Library website and blog.
Feel like going to the library but not leaving the comfort of your home? Check out these iconic film scenes from Beauty and the Beast to Ghostbusters, all of which take place in the library.
My personal favorite? Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
Readers, an exciting new work by Scottish conceptual artist Katie Paterson is underway. In Norway, 1000 trees were planted to print books which will remain unread until the opening of the “Future Library” in 2114. A highly selective panel will choose one book each year by an author who understands that, at least for those contributing in the next 60 or 70 years, their work will not be read in their lifetime. The hopeful heart of this project is “to conceive and produce a work in the hopes of finding a receptive reader in an unknown future.”
Excitingly, Margaret Atwood will be the first author to be included in the collection. In her words,
“I am very honoured, and also happy to be part of this endeavor. This project, at least, believes the human race will still be around in a hundred years! Future Library is bound to attract a lot of attention over the decades, as people follow the progress of the trees, note what takes up residence in and around them, and try to guess what the writers have put into their sealed boxes.”
Take a look at this video, from Paterson’s Future Library website, to learn more about the project.
Readers, that time has come again! September 21-27 is Banned Books Week, an annual celebration of the freedom to read put on by the ALA. Censorship continues to be a very real threat to libraries, schools, and anyone trying to access information. Take a look at these stats published by Pat LaMarche in the Huffington Post:
The Office of Intellectual Freedom recorded 307 instances of banned or challenged books in 2013. Jennifer O’Brien, Serials and Government Documents Librarian for Western Connecticut State University, cautions that this might represent a fraction of the censorship cases actually going on in the United States. O’Brien explained, “Teachers or librarians may just be self-censoring. And not because they don’t want to use the material… it’s possible that they didn’t even purchase a book or periodical because they thought it would be challenged.”
So do your part to fight censorship! Get involved by staying up to date on what is being challenged and where, maybe drafting a letter to your local newspaper, school board or library director, or contacting your local elected officials to urge them to publicize Banned Books Week. For more ways to help out, check out the ALA website.
In the meantime, come to the Mason Library to check out our awesome Banned Books Week display and exercise your freedom to read by taking one home!