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Election Day is November 4th

Published on October 27, 2014 by in Uncategorized

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Massachusetts State Elections are on Tuesday, November 4th.

In addition to voting for key state and local positions, including the governor, there are 4 ballot questions. These questions offer voters the opportunity to directly set new laws or repeal old ones.

Not sure what the questions are, or undecided on any issues? We’ve got lots of information to help you make up your mind! Check out our displays in the library solarium and bulletin board. We also have voting information packets available for you to take home.

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Student Senate, the Office of Student Activities & Community Service, and the Nahman-Watson Library have partnered to bring you a new bike rental program at GCC. Sign up in the library, pick up a bike in the student activities office, and return it within 2 days.

More information at http://www.gcc.mass.edu/student-activities/bike-loan/.

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Closed Mon., 10/13

Published on October 9, 2014 by in Uncategorized

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The library will be closed this Monday, October 13th, for the Columbus Day holiday.

We apologize for any inconvenience.

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Reduced hours Wed. 10/1

Published on September 29, 2014 by in Uncategorized

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The library will open late on Wednesday, October 1st. Our hours will be 12:30 to 8:30 pm.

Wednesday is a Professional Day for all at the college; we will close for the morning in order for staff to attend the main training session. Day classes will not run on this day.

We apologize for any inconvenience.

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Banned Books Week, Day 5

Published on September 26, 2014 by in Uncategorized

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elijahandsachfinaldraft

We’re wrapping up Banned Books Week today. Thank you to all who participated this week by attending our events, reading our blog posts, or skimming through some banned comics in the library. Your attention to this issue is what will help our library keep access to all books, comics, thoughts, and ideas available to all. Freedom of information can only happen with your support of our work, even if you personally disagree with some of the items we offer.

So! Our last poster is a special one – we’ve got four people reading! English faculty Wendy Barnes, and her son, Sacha, and science lab safety officer Natalie Feliciano, and her son, Elijah, read Our Bodies, Ourselves.

From the American Library Association: “challenges of this book about the female anatomy and sexuality ran from the book’s publication into the mid-1980s. One Public Library lodged it “promotes homosexuality and perversion.” We have not one, not two, but three copies of this book in our collection! As the authors’ state, they are “in good company.” In an interview with CNN, one of the author’s discusses how it went from a controversial zine to one of the most influential health books of all time.

For more information on this week, visit http://bannedbooksweek.org/. For more information on banned comics, check out the amazing Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.

elijahandsachfinaldraft

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Banned Books Week, Day 4

Published on September 25, 2014 by in Uncategorized

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Today’s posters feature two graphic novels – one contemporary, and one a visual version of one of the most banned books of all time.

First, student Cindy Curtis reads Blankets. From the Comic Books Legal Defense Fund:

cindy curtis final draftBlankets is the semiautobiographical story of Thompson’s upbringing in a religious family, his first love, and how he came to terms with his religious beliefs. The primary narrative in the book describes main character Craig’s relationship with Raina, a young woman he meets at a Christian youth camp. We get glimpses into Craig’s childhood and his relationship with his younger brother through flashbacks, as he wrestles with his views of religion and his relationship with God.

At the time of the challenge, the Marshall Public Library did not have an established materials selection policy, which would have laid out guidelines as to what types of items the library should buy. The library board decided to draft such a policy, but also opted to remove the two books from circulation during the development process. After several months, the board ultimately approved a policy, which stated in part that the library would buy materials based on contemporary or social significance, critical acclaim, patron requests or popular demand, and “timeliness and/or significance of subject matter.”Louise Mills, a resident of Marshall, MO, filed a requestwith the Marshall Public Library Board of Trustees to have Blankets removed from the shelves because of the allegedly obscene illustrations. She likened the illustrations to pornography and was concerned that the comic art would attract children who would subsequently see the images she alleged were pornographic. Mills also feared that the library would be frequented by the same people who go to porn shops.

On October 4, 2006, the Marshall Public Library Board of Trustees held a hearing to determine the fate of Blanketsand another challenged graphic novel — Fun Home by Alison Bechdel…Both books also clearly met several of the criteria in the new library policy and were restored to circulationimmediately when the policy was approved, but the ordeal serves as an object lesson on how important it is for libraries to have a materials selection policy in place before a challenge happens. Additionally, the American Library Association recommends that “challenged materials…remain in the collection during the review process.”” (LINK)

Student Robert Start reads a graphic novel version of The Canterbury Tales.

The Canterbury Tales is considered a classic, and is number 8 on a list of books that are both a) among the top 1000 titles owned by libraries and b) have been frequently banned (the Bible is number 1).

More recently, it was banned by a public school in Illinois for sexual content.
robert start finaldraft 1

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Banned Books Week, Day 3

Published on September 24, 2014 by in Uncategorized

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For this third day of Banned Books Week, we are featuring comics by author Alan Moore. Many of Moore’s comics have been banned or challenged – we are discussing 3 today – and Moore himself has been outspoken about censorship issues. In an interview in The Comics Journal, he said:

I really do not think that we should restrict information to children. And I think that, basically, I know that there are a lot of parents that don’t agree, would not agree with me upon that, and of course they have the right, but as long as it’s kept upon a parental level, I’m not too worried. If parents are making the decisions that their children can or cannot read this sort of book in the home, that’s fair enough. The parents can take the consequences of that. It won’t necessarily stop the children reading it, but at least it’s a transaction between the child and the parent and it’s the parent taking responsibility for their children, which is fair enough. I take a more liberal stance in that I prefer to let my children read anything, but I want to know what they’re reading, and if there’s anything they come across which might be disturbing, then I’m always on hand to talk about it with them. Which, to me, seems to be the responsible attitude…They  [parents] shouldn’t hand over that responsibility to an outside body, and along with it, hand over the responsibility of all those other parents who have been finding it quite easy to take an actual personal interest in what their children are reading and to monitor their reading habits themselves.” (LINK)

Our first Alan Moore comic is called Watchmen, a title many are familiar with, and is read by student Juliana Molina. From the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund:

juliana molinafinaldraft“[This] alternate history in which a group of retired crimefighters investigate and attempt to stop a plot to murder them has been praised by critics and fans alike since its 1986 debut. It received a Hugo Award in 1988 and was instrumental in garnering more respect and shelf space for comics and graphic novels in libraries and mainstream bookstores.

The inclusion of the compiled Watchmen in school library collections has been challenged by parents at least twice, according to the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. There is no media coverage of these challenges to be found online, but OIF helpfully provided us with a few more details from their database. The first Watchmen complaint, at a high school in Harrisonburg, Virginia, was reported in October of 2001. OIF removes specific identifying details from the information it releases to the public, but the high school library in Harrisonburg holds a copy of the book, so it appears the challenge was unsuccessful. The second challenge, from May of 2004, took place at a school serving grades 6-12 in Florida, but the city and outcome are unknown.” (LINK)

Our second Alan Moore comic is Black Dossier: The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, read by student Rachel Carkhuff. From the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund:

The League of Extraordinary Gfrachel carkhuffinal draftentlemen: Black Dossier, written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Kevin O’Neill, is a sort of meta “sourcebook” for the popular series of the same title. Rife with literary and popular culture mashups, the book follows League members Mina Harker and Allan Quatermain as they seek the Black Dossier, an intelligence file that covers the founding and development of the crime-fghting cabal. Excerpts from the dossier, including a map, postcards, a lost Shakespeare play, and a sequel to the 18th century pornographic novel Fanny Hill, are interspersed with the framework of story. The book received a starred review in Publishers Weekly and came in second on Time’s list of the Top 10 Graphic Novels of 2007.

In 2009, two employees of the Jessamine County Public Library in Kentucky were fired after they took it upon themselves to withhold the library’s copy of Black Dossier from circulation. Sharon Cook, a full-time Library Assistant who objected to sex scenes in the book, initially followed the library’s established challenge procedure available to all patrons. She requested that the book be moved from the Graphic Novel section (which she thought was too close to Young Adult) into Adult Fiction. The committee considered her challenge and found that the book was properly shelved. In response, Cook checked the book out of the library and continued to renew it for about a year, thereby making it unavailable to members of the public. When a patron hold eventually prevented Cook from renewing the book, she used her staff privileges to determine that the requester was an 11-year-old girl. At that time Cook confided in a co-worker, part-time employee Beth Boisvert, who in turn cancelled the hold so the patron would not receive the book.

Cook and Boisvert considered the material in the Black Dossier pornographic, but the book has never met the standard for obscenity. Neither Cook nor Boisvert were librarians (despite what some sources indicate), and they superseded their authority and committed censorship in taking the actions they did. All library employees should strive to uphold the American Library Association Code of Ethics and the Library Bill of Rights (not to mention theBill of Rights that includes the First Amendment). Instead, Cook and Boisvert violated several tenets of both, and their actions resulted in their termination.” (LINK)

Finally, Support Staff Shawn Fellows reads From shawnfellows1 1Hell.

While there are multiple reports of this book being challenged and banned, we were unable to find anything verifiable. The content is certainly controversial, and the American Library Association estimates that 70-80% of all book bans go unreported.

So keep reading those Alan Moore comics, if you want!

I’m not going to follow my kids around. But I know that they’ve got nothing that they’re going to hide from me. Because there’s no reason to hide anything from me in terms of what they read. I’ve tried to establish a sensible relationship with my children, where there is mutual openness. Where they are allowed to exhaust their curiosity, and if they do, say for example, look at an issue of Zap Comics, because the color looks pretty, then I can say to them. “Yeah, well, there are a couple of stories in there which you might think were funny, but there’s also some stuff by S. Clay Wilson with men having their penises chopped off and it’s pretty horrible, and you can see all the veins in the middle, and you’ll probably find it a bit sickening, and you might not want to read it just before you go to bed.” In which case, they’ll either say, “Well. I think I’ll read it anyway.” or, more often than not they’ll say, “Well, in that case I’ll read something else” But if I said, “No, you can’t read it,” then that would probably mean that they would be sneaking into the bedroom in a week’s time, and looking at it. And then they wouldn’t be able to tell me that they’d looked at it, and they wouldn’t be able to discuss their reactions to it with me. That was the way I was brought up, Gary. You know, we weren’t allowed to mention that sort of stuff, so we did it anyway, and then coped with it ourselves. Which I don’t think is necessarily the most efficient way of doing it. So, in answer to your question, do I not think there should be any restraints on what children are sold, in terms of, well, I think that children have got as much rights as anybody else.” (Alan Moore – LINK)

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Banned Books Week, Day 2

Published on September 23, 2014 by in Uncategorized

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The second day of Banned Books Week 2014 is here! We’ve got two more banned graphic novels to talk about today.

A student, Shamara Jones, reads Fun Home. The author of this book is a recently certified genius, receiving one of this year’s MacArthur Genius awards. But even genius-level work is susceptible to banning. From the Comic Books Legal Defense Fund:

Alison Bechdel’s Fushamara-finaldraft1n Home: A Family Tragicomic is a graphic novel memoir of the author’s childhood, particularly focused on her relationship with her closeted gay father Bruce. As Alison grows older and realizes that she is a lesbian, she and Bruce are both forced to confront how his repression may have affected her own self-image and the way that she dealt with her sexuality…

As with many critically-acclaimed books — particularly graphic novels — Fun Home soon drew the attention of would-be censors…In 2014, the book faced a greater challenge in South Carolina, where the state legislature debated punitive budget cuts against the College of Charleston because it incorporated Fun Home into a voluntary summer reading program for incoming freshman. The proposed state budget would have cut CofC’s funding by $52,000, the exact amount needed for the annual The College Reads program. In March, CBLDF joined a coalition led by NCAC to urge the South Carolina Senate to reject the budget cuts, and the Senate Finance Committee rightly rejected them. However, the full Senate continued to debate the budget, coming up with a “compromise”: Instead of cutting the funds, the legislature proposed a budget provision that doesn’t cut funding but — in a an act of irony so classic that it should be included in the dictionary — the provision reallocated the funds to books that teach about the Constitution.” (LINK)

About Bechdel’s MacArthur grant.

Americore/VISTA and graduate Kia Burton-McLaughlin reads Stuck in the Middle. From the Comic Books Legal Defense Fund:

Stuck in the Middlekia burtonrevised was edited by Ariel Schrag and includes contributions from acclaimed graphic novelists Daniel Clowes, Dash Shaw, Gabrielle Bell, Lauren Weinstein, and more. The book received praise from Booklist, New York Times, and Publishers Weekly, and it was selected for New York Public Library’s “Books for the Teen Age” list in 2008.

A school in Dixfield, Maine received a complaint objecting to language, sexual content, and drug references in the book. After discussion of the complaint and the content of the book, the Dixfield school board voted to leave the book on shelves but placed the book in the professional collection, which requires parental permission before students can take out the book.” 

(LINK)

 

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Banned Books Week, Day 1

Published on September 22, 2014 by in Uncategorized

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davidoneacrefinaldraft

Welcome to Banned Books Week! Each day, we will post a poster of a GCC community member reading a book that has been banned at some point. We hope to highlight that we are lucky enough to have access to these books, and that these books mean a lot to people- their lives would be different had they not been able to access these books. By showcasing the censorship that is still occurring, we hope we can come one step closer to full access to information for everyone.

Our first poster features Professor Emeritus Anne Wiley, reading Persepolis. From the Comic Books Legal Defense Fund:

annewileyfinaldraftPersepolis, Marjane Satrapi’s graphic memoir of growing up during the Iranian Revolution, has received international acclaim since its initial publication in French. When it was released in English in 2003, bothTime Magazine and the New York Times recognized it as one of the best books of the year. In 2007 it was adapted as an animated film, which was nominated for an Oscar and won the Cannes Film Festival Jury Prize and a French César. Although it was certainly controversial in the Middle East, there were no publicly reported challenges or bans of the book in U.S. schools or libraries until March 2013, when Chicago Public Schools administrators abruptly pulled it from some classrooms.

The circumstances surrounding the ban remain unclear to this day. In an email to employees, principal Christopher Dignam of Lane Tech College Prep High School initially said that he had been instructed by district administrators to remove Persepolis from the school’s library in addition to discontinuing its use in classrooms. Predictably, a furor ensued as students and teachers held protests and anti-censorship groups including CBLDF demanded an explanation. The day after Dignam’s email, district CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett sent another email to principals claiming that the intention was never to remove the book from libraries, but only from classrooms due to “graphic language and images that are not appropriate for general use.” The book was approved for use in grade 11 classrooms, removed from grade 7 classrooms, and reviewed for use in grade 8 – 10 classrooms. The book is listed in CPS’s 2013-14 Literacy Content Framework only for grade 11 students, which likely means it was not approved for use in grade 8 – 10 classrooms.

As Chicago students themselves pointed out, the few panels in Persepolis depicting torture techniques that were used on Iranian dissidents are no more graphic than images encountered while studying other true events such as the Holocaust or slavery. Moreover, many of these same students are exposed to real-life violence daily in their own neighborhoods, so the official CPS justification for the restriction of a modern classic in the nation’s third-largest school district remains unconvincing.” (LINK)

We chose to highlight this poster, for this book, on the first day to call back to Molly Dowd, who chose this book to be on her poster last year. We love and miss you, Molly: https://www.facebook.com/libraryatGCC/photos/a.267357336630835.73393.214228015277101/652460144787217/?type=3&theater

Our second poster features a student, David Oneacre, reading a book from the Bone series.

davidoneacrefinaldraftThe theme of this year’s Banned Books Week is comics and graphic novels. David is reading from a very popular series which was one of the top ten books that were banned or challenged in 2013. From the Comic Books Legal Defense Fund:

“Although considered a modern comics classic that’s delighted millions of readers all over the world, Jeff Smith’s Bone is also one of the most commonly challenged books in American libraries. Bone tells of three creatures known as the Bones, who are outcast from their home village of Boneville and lost in a human land called The Valley. In The Valley, the Bones find themselves surrounded by talking bugs, vicious rat-like monsters, magic, and the occasional dragon. Smith’s epic follows Fone Bone and his two cousins, Smiley and Phoney, as they meet the valley’s denizens, become embroiled in their society, and discover their own heroism in confrontation with the rat creatures and their mystical master, the Lord of Locusts.

According to ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, the Bone series has faced several challenges and at least one ban over the years. (Some cases that were reported directly to OIF by librarians or teachers have incomplete information in order to maintain the submitters’ anonymity.)…

In 2012 Bone was relocated from a
Texas elementary school to a junior high school in the same district because of another “unsuited for age group” complaint. Finally in 2013 it was challenged twice more in Texas schools, at Colleyville Elementary School in Colleyville and Whitley Road Elementary in Watauga. In the latter case the unidentified complainant said that vol. 2, The Great Cow Race, was “politically, racially, or socially offensive,” while the parent in Colleyville complained of “violence or horror” in the entire series. Both school districts reviewed the books and opted to keep them where they were.

Because of the Texas challenges, Bone came in at #10 on ALA’s list of books frequently challenged in 2013. Smith responded to the inclusion of Bone on the list shortly after ALA announced it in early 2014:

I learned this weekend that Bone has been challenged on the basis of “political viewpoint, racism and violence.” I have no idea what book these people read. After fielding these and other charges for a while now, I’m starting to think such outrageous accusations (really, racism?) say more about the people who make them than about the books themselves.”

(LINK)

 

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Banned Books Week: Sept. 21-27

Published on September 19, 2014 by in Uncategorized

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Banned Books Week is here! We will be celebrating the freedom to read all week, along with libraries, publishers, book stores, and readers across the country. The theme of this year’s Banned Books Week is comics. Comics and graphic novels have long been a very popular genre among readers but have frequently been targeted for removal from libraries, stores, and home book shelves because of their visual nature and perceived low cultural value.

This week, we will be highlighting all kinds of amazing books, comics, and graphic novels that we are proud to have available in our library. The purpose is to illustrate how and why books get banned, and how libraries across the nation and world are fighting to keep access to material (even the controversial) open to all. Some of the best books of all time have been banned, at one point or another! We hope that these great books will always be available, to everyone, in the future.

So, how are we celebrating?

  • Library displays in the solarium and on the library bulletin board, in the hallway just outside the library.
  • Posters featuring GCC students, faculty, and staff reading their favorite banned books & comics on the library blog and facebook page. (See previous years posters here.)
  • Wednesday, September 24th, from 12 to 1, in the library solarium:
    • “The Seduction of the Innocent” : GCC’s Graphic Novels professor Scott Herstad speaks about censored comics. Free snacks and coffee!
  • Thursday, September 25th, from 12 to 1, in the MacLeish room (C307):
    • Read aloud and listen to passages from your favorite banned books.

For more information on this week, visit http://bannedbooksweek.org/. For more information on banned comics, check out the amazing Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.

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