Why should you care about Banned Books Week?

When I look at the titles on the American Library Association’s banned and challenged books lists, I get goose bumps.  If we worry about the state of the world as it is today, what would it be like if these books had never been read?  If the ideas in these classic works had not been fully explored, what would society consider important, and what would we teach our children?

Some of my favorite books are on the lists:  Beloved.  Their Eyes Were Watching God.  The Awakening.  Anything by Judy Blume.  (Yes, these are all female authors.  Deal with it.)  I shudder to think of what a boring place my mind would be if it hadn’t been opened to new ways of viewing the world through these works.

judy The Awakening My Edition their beloved

The American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom has been collecting data on challenged and banned books since 1990.  The two most common reasons a book may be challenged are for sexually explicit content or offensive language.  The data on particular titles comes from librarians, teachers, and media sources.  Content in challenged books has been questioned by one or more individuals, with an attempt to remove or restrict access to the books.  Banned books are those that have been removed from libraries.  I urge you to visit the Office for Intellectual Freedom’s web page for more information and resources:  http://www.ala.org/offices/oif

Defending intellectual freedom is one of the bedrock values of librarianship.  I hope you will join us here at Rice Library as we celebrate intellectual freedom – and the freedom to read – during Banned Books Week, September 22-28, 2013.

-Marna Hostetler, Library Director

Meet Your Reference Team!

A couple of weeks ago I gave you a bunch of facts about me, the new Reference and Instruction Librarian! Here are some fun facts about the rest of the reference team!

Joanne Artz: Assistant Director and Head of User ServicesMe and Pinky (2)

  1. In her next life, Joanne wants to be an archaeologist.
  2. Joanne has two tattoos, one on each ankle.
  3. She is CRAZY for anything about ancient history.
  4. Joanne is a self-described “information junkie”, which makes her a great reference librarian!



Phil_OrrPhil Orr: Distance Learning Librarian

  1. Although Phil is 6’6″, he has never played basketball competitively.
  2. Phil enjoys casual walking and hiking in the word of southern Indiana and Illinois. In fact, one of his dreams is to hike across England and/or the Appalachian Trail.
  3. Phil is a big Masterpiece Theatre/Mystery(PBS) fan. He’s been watching the programs since the early 1980s, beginning with The Duchess of Duke Street.
  4. Phil enjoys puzzles and board games, although he is not necessarily very good at either.

Jennifer Greene: Reference and Archives Librarian IMG_5260

  1. Jennifer is a craft beer enthusiast! She is really into craft beer and good food and is constantly in search of the two together in one place.
  2. Her hobbies are reading (duh), walking, river hunting and train track crawling. “My friends and I like to go out on weekends and try to follow a river to find the spot where it meets another river, like the White River and the Wabash.  We also like to go hunt down old train track lines.  It’s fun to drive around the countryside and stop to eat at all the little restaurants and pubs along the way.  I have found festivals and fairs and towns I never knew about.”
  3. Jennifer loves all animals, but dogs have a special place in her heart. She has a 10-year-old lab mix that she takes walking at Angel Mounds. Jennifer believes that happiness is a warm puppy!
  4. If you love music, talk to Jennifer! Her first love is the blues, but she likes everything from Grateful Dead to R.E.M.

Brad Reel: Reference and Interlibrary Loan LibrarianBrad Reel (2)

  1. Brad is an alum of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a HUGE Badgers fan.
  2. Brad has been happily married 19 years and is the proud father of one son and two daughters.
  3. Brad has played the trumpet for 32 years.
  4. He loves softball/baseball!