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Monday, October 17, 2022

Meet MLC Monday: Zach Burton

Elisabeth Scott
Reference and Social Media Librarian

Meet Zach Burton, Patron Access Coordinator at the Mississippi Library Commission (MLC)! Zach helps maintain and circulate the Talking Book Services' digital book collection. He also maintains, circulates, and repairs MLC's National Library Service (NLS) digital book players. Zach holds a bachelor's degree in Anthropology and is currently enrolled at the University of Southern Mississippi as he finishes a master's degree in Library and Information Science with an Archival Certification.

Zach began working at MLC in September of 2022. He says, "I love being able to provide a service to the visually impaired community of our state; it is an incredibly rewarding line of work. Furthermore, I’ve greatly enjoyed working with all of my coworkers since I’ve begun here at MLC and look forward to the continued experience."

When asked his thoughts on libraries, Zach replies, "I like libraries for a plethora of reasons. Most simply, I love books and I love learning. More than that though, I believe the institutions of libraries and archives serve as some of the greatest bastions of intellectual freedom within a modern democracy. Within a library, we all have the freedom to explore any set of ideas which interest us, without being limited by economic restraints."

Zach loves to read, but claims that it’s too hard to pick a favorite book. (We understand; we have the same problem!) Two of his recent favorites are East of Eden by John Steinbeck, which he calls an undeniable classic, and Thomas Merton’s New Seeds of Contemplation, which he says is one of the most important books he's ever read. He also has a recommendation for sci-fi fans: he just completed Gene Wolfe’s The Book of The Long Sun and labels it a literary masterpiece.

When Zach isn't busy working or reading, he spends most of his time with his partner and their dog. He also manages to fit in time hiking and playing bass, drums, and guitar in a few bands, all while juggling his stack of graduate work.

Saturday, September 24, 2022

We Read Banned Books: Lacy Ellinwood

Welcome to Banned Books Week 2022. Every year for the past forty years, the book community has joined together to celebrate the freedom to read. We focus on free and open access to information and promote and support those books that have been challenged or banned, even those that we personally don't like or agree with. We've seen an unprecedented amount of challenges in 2022, many of them challenging multiple books instead of just one title. If you are a teacher or librarian and know of a book that has been challenged or banned in your area, you can report it to the Mississippi Challenged Book Index here and the American Library Association here.

We're sharing a staff member's views on a banned book every day this week and urge you to check them out, to read them, and to stand up against book challenges and bans in your local communities, schools, and libraries.

Our Lead Library Consultant Lacy Ellinwood chose the series Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. The first book in the series was published in 1981 and is beloved by children for its collection of spooky tales based on folklore from around the globe. All three books have been challenged and banned for violence, occultism, religious viewpoint, being unsuitable for age group, insensitivity, and being too scary. Lacy says,

"The Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark series from Alvin Schwartz, and originally illustrated by Stephen Gammell, were never booktalked by my elementary school librarian. They were pandered by the hushed word of mouth from one student to the next. To this day, 30 years later, I have never put a hold on a book more often than those three titles. Each book speaks to what lurks in the dark and how the seemingly mundane can be oh so terrifying."
Censorship divides us. Books unite us. Celebrate the freedom to read.

Sources:

Friday, September 23, 2022

We Read Banned Books: Tracy Carr

Welcome to Banned Books Week 2022. Every year for the past forty years, the book community has joined together to celebrate the freedom to read. We focus on free and open access to information and promote and support those books that have been challenged or banned, even those that we personally don't like or agree with. We've seen an unprecedented amount of challenges in 2022, many of them challenging multiple books instead of just one title. If you are a teacher or librarian and know of a book that has been challenged or banned in your area, you can report it to the Mississippi Challenged Book Index here and the American Library Association here.

We're sharing a staff member's views on a banned book every day this week and urge you to check them out, to read them, and to stand up against book challenges and bans in your local communities, schools, and libraries. 

Deputy Director of Library Services Tracy Carr chose the book The Awakening by Kate Chopin. It was published in 1899 and examines the transformation of Edna Pontellier from housewife and mother to a woman in charge of her own body and decisions. It, along with a collection of other books was challenged for obscenity and/or pornographic material. It also ended Chopin's career, shocking critics and readers alike with its "vulgarity" and "morbidness". Tracy says,

"Kate Chopin's The Awakening is a story of a woman learning to live for herself outside of the role of wife and mother. It's not surprising that this book has been challenged for questioning traditional social and gender roles; at its heart, it's a radical feminist novel."
Censorship divides us. Books unite us. Celebrate the freedom to read.

Sources:

Thursday, September 22, 2022

We Read Banned Books: Amy LaFleur

Welcome to Banned Books Week 2022. Every year for the past forty years, the book community has joined together to celebrate the freedom to read. We focus on free and open access to information and promote and support those books that have been challenged or banned, even those that we personally don't like or agree with. We've seen an unprecedented amount of challenges in 2022, many of them challenging multiple books instead of just one title. If you are a teacher or librarian and know of a book that has been challenged or banned in your area, you can report it to the Mississippi Challenged Book Index here and the American Library Association here.

We're sharing a staff member's views on a banned book every day this week and urge you to check them out, to read them, and to stand up against book challenges and bans in your local communities, schools, and libraries.

Our Reference Librarian Amy LaFleur chose the book The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. It was published in 1925 and features the tragic love affair of Jay Gatsby, a self-made millionaire and embodiment of the American Dream, and Daisy Buchanan, a shallow socialite. It has been challenged and banned for strong language and sexual content that could be deemed controversial. Amy says,
"I love The Great Gatsby. I remember reading it for the first time in high school and being captivated by the mystery of Jay Gatsby. Upon a second reading as an adult, I appreciated both how beautifully written it is and the fact that it grapples with big questions despite being a rather short, fast-paced novel."

Censorship divides us. Books unite us. Celebrate the freedom to read.

Sources:

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

We Read Banned Books: Margaret Smitherman

Welcome to Banned Books Week 2022. Every year for the past forty years, the book community has joined together to celebrate the freedom to read. We focus on free and open access to information and promote and support those books that have been challenged or banned, even those that we personally don't like or agree with. We've seen an unprecedented amount of challenges in 2022, many of them challenging multiple books instead of just one title. If you are a teacher or librarian and know of a book that has been challenged or banned in your area, you can report it to the Mississippi Challenged Book Index here and the American Library Association here.

We're sharing a staff member's views on a banned book every day this week and urge you to check them out, to read them, and to stand up against book challenges and bans in your local communities, schools, and libraries.

Our Patron Services Librarian Margaret Smitherman chose the book A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle. Published in 1962, it won the Newbery Medal the following year. It follows the story of a young girl, her brother, neighbor, and three witchy guides who take to the stars on a journey to find the children's scientist father. The novel has been challenged numerous times for promoting the occult and undermining religious beliefs. Margaret says,
"Reading A Wrinkle in Time was one of my favorite childhood memories. This book is the first volume in a series with great lessons in values and moral behavior, and a great suspenseful plot. What’s not to like?"
Censorship divides us. Books unite us. Celebrate the freedom to read.

Sources:

https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/2018/03/192818/a-wrinkle-in-time-religious-themes-christian-banned
https://www.britannica.com/topic/A-Wrinkle-in-Time
https://bannedbooksweek.org/about/
https://www.ala.org/news/press-releases/2022/09/ala-releases-preliminary-data-2022-book-bans
https://www.mlc.lib.ms.us/ms-libraries/mcbi/

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

We Read Banned Books: Jessica Parson

Welcome to Banned Books Week 2022. Every year for the past forty years, the book community has joined together to celebrate the freedom to read. We focus on free and open access to information and promote and support those books that have been challenged or banned, even those that we personally don't like or agree with. We've seen an unprecedented amount of challenges in 2022, many of them challenging multiple books instead of just one title. If you are a teacher or librarian and know of a book that has been challenged or banned in your area, you can report it to the Mississippi Challenged Book Index here and the American Library Association here

We're sharing staff members' views on a banned book every day this week and urge you to check them out, to read them, and to stand up against book challenges and bans in your local communities, schools, and libraries.

Our Library Services Coordinator Jessica Parson chose the book Ulysses by James Joyce. First published serially beginning in 1918, the novel was declared obscene in 1921. A court case in 1933 finally allowed for publication in the United States. The dense book is a modern take on Homer's Odyssey and uses stream-of-consciousness to explore a day in the life of one man in Dublin. It was challenged and banned in the United States for obscenity. Jessica says,

"I enjoy Ulysses because it envelopes the reader in a uniquely formed perspective of subjectivity."

Censorship divides us. Books unite us. Celebrate the freedom to read.

Sources:

Monday, September 19, 2022

We Read Banned Books: J.D. Burns

Welcome to Banned Books Week 2022. Every year for the past forty years, the book community has joined together to celebrate the freedom to read. We focus on free and open access to information and promote and support those books that have been challenged or banned, even those that we personally don't like or agree with. We've seen an unprecedented amount of challenges in 2022, many of them challenging multiple books instead of just one title. If you are a teacher or librarian and know of a book that has been challenged or banned in your area, you can report it to the Mississippi Challenged Book Index here and the American Library Association here.

We're sharing a staff member's views on a banned book every day this week and urge you to check them out, to read them, and to stand up against book challenges and bans in your local communities, schools, and libraries. 

Our Patron Services Librarian J.D. Burns chose the book One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey. First published in 1962, the novel examines the inhumanity of institutionalization by way of a power-hungry nurse in charge of a ward at a psychiatric hospital. It has been challenged and banned across the United States for using profanity, being pornographic, and glorifying criminal activity. J.D. says,

"One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest eloquently reminds us that sometimes the people in charge don't necessarily have the best in mind for us, and at times rebellion is what keeps us sane. It speaks to the different sides in each of us, that in times of stress it's okay to sit back and stay silent and observe, or pick up something heavy and throw against the wall."

Censorship divides us. Books unite us. Celebrate the freedom to read.

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