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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Sensory Story Kits Available at MLC

The Mississippi Library Commission has some exciting new resources available for patrons! The agency recently added 15 Sensory Story Kits to its collection. The story kits are now available for loan by patrons of MLC and the Mississippi Talking Book Services.

Each story kit contains a story book that has printed text and illustrations accompanied by Braille. The kits also contain items and toys related to the story. The items provide a hands-on way for children to experience books and aid in comprehension and enjoyment of the story. These story kits were created with young children with visual impairments in mind, but children of all ages and capabilities can use tactile and sensory exploration to enhance their understanding and enjoyment of books.

The story kits are currently available to check out and have a loan period of six weeks. To reserve a kit or request a catalog of titles that are available, please contact Erica McCaleb at or 601-432-4116. This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Friday, June 26, 2015

MLC Reads: June 26, 2015

Hello, fellow readers! We're wrapping up Pride Month with a few LGBT reads. Here are our reviews:

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
written by Becky Albertalli
five stars

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli follows sixteen-year-old Simon as he navigates through high school, coming out, and falling in love with Blue, a pen name for the boy he has been secretly emailing. Albertalli's debut novel is absolutely wonderful. This is one of those of novels that you can read again and again and still love.

And Tango Makes Three
written by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
illustrated by Henry Cole
five stars 

And Tango Makes Three is an amazing picture book. The illustrations by Henry Cole are beautiful and engaging and the text by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell flows easily from one page to the next. Based on real events, the story follows two male penguins who march to their own beat and the Central Park zookeeper who helps them find their own path. Tango is a delight to read and is perfect for starting discussions about just what a family is. Highly recommended.

Me Talk Pretty One Day
written by David Sedaris
five stars

Three things we like and look for in our comedy:
  1. Absurdity
  2. Shock Value
  3. Disfunction
If you, too, look for these same things, Me Talk Pretty One Day will satisfy all three desires in one go. Just don't read it somewhere where quiet is imperative. Sedaris will coax sounds out of you. Mostly laughter.

If you're looking for more books with LGBT themes, be sure to check out some of our recommendations here and here. We have some great books in our to-read pile for next week. Next week, look for our reviews of:

  • Red Berries, White Clouds, Blue Sky written by Sandra Dallas
  • The Bedlam Detective written by Stephen Gallagher
  • Calling the Doves/El canto de las palomas written by Juan Felipe Herrera and illustrated by Elly Simmons
Until next week, happy reading!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Buntin Elected President of CSLP

Congratulations are in order for the Mississippi Library Commission's Senior Library Consultant Mac Buntin. He has been elected President of the Collaborative Summer Library Program and took office 1 June 2015. Buntin is the perfect person for the job. He says, "I believe in what we do. The Collaborative Summer Library Program promotes literacy. I believe in literacy for everyone." Buntin has been a state representative for the all-volunteer CSLP since 2006 and has also served as treasurer and vice-president. He's very proud of the organization, saying "CSLP provides a high quality, affordable summer library program annually." In fact, they're already working on the program for the summer of 2017!

The Collaborative Summer Library Program was started in 1987 in Minnesota. Now, twenty-two years later, all fifty states, the District of Columbia, and four U.S. territories are participating members. (Four states are partial members.) Mississippi joined in 2006. Buntin's excitement and love for the program is contagious. The program keeps developing and CSLP tries to appeal to everyone. It targets four age groups: early literacy, children, teen, and adult, so don't think that just because you're not in grade school that you can't participate. Buntin adds, "It's not just 'read a book' anymore." He points to the different theme chosen every year, which has focused on science, art, and other areas, in conjunction with literacy.

We're all awfully proud of Mr. Buntin, librarian extraordinaire.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

LGBT Pride Month Literary Redux

On this day, June 23, 1912, scientist Alan Turing was born. Turing is known chiefly for his achievements in code-breaking during the Second World War. Early on in the war, he engineered improvements on a Polish machine known as “bombe," which enabled it to unravel the ciphers generated by a German technology called “Enigma." Bombe cracked as many as 84,000 codes a month. As German coding technology morphed, Turing kept up and made a breakthrough in decoding German “Tunny” messages; this led to the first systematic method of cracking them. This method, known as “Turingery," inspired code-deciphering algorithms run on the newly invented large computer system known as Colossus.

Dr. Turing was personally responsible for interpreting the Enigma codes sent to U-Boats. This allowed ships crossing the Atlantic to stay out of torpedo range. Experts estimate that Dr. Alan Turing and his team of code-breakers shortened the war in Europe by as many as two to four years.

However, despite his incredible contribution to the Allied war effort, in 1952, Dr. Turing was prosecuted for the crime of gross indecency for admitting to having a sexual relationship with a man. In lieu of going to prison, Turing accepted the punishment of experimental chemical castration. This meant he was to be injected with female sex hormones to reduce sex drive.

This was not the only consequence of his conviction. He was stripped of his government security clearance and was no longer allowed to work for UK communications. He was denied entry to the United States due to this conviction and was considered a security risk when traveling to other European countries. On June 8, 1954, Alan Turing was found dead in his house. His death, caused by cyanide poisoning, was ruled as suicide, but most now believe his death was accidental.

In 2009, in response to a petition with over 30,000 signatures, the British Prime Minister publicly apologized for the mistreatment of Turing. At last, more than 60 years after his conviction and after much controversy, an official pardon signed by Queen Elizabeth II was announced in August of 2014.

As indicated by this short biography, homophobia ran deep in many places, and still does in many others. We should always remain thankful and not take our liberties for granted, but let’s especially appreciate and celebrate how much progress has been made for LGBTQQI folks this month. Happy Pride Month, y’all!

Here are the LGBTQQI non-fiction recommendations you always knew (or never knew) you wanted. Enjoy.

*Note: All books listed are for adults unless otherwise indicated


Me Talk Pretty One Day
David Sedaris
Running With Scissors
Augusten Burroughs



The Last Time I Wore a Dress
Daphne Scholinsk

Butch Queens Up in Pumps:
Gender, Performance and
Ballroom Culture in Detroit

Marlon M. Bailey
Persistence: All Ways
Butch and Femme

Ivan E. Coyote

It Gets Better: Coming
Out, Overcoming
Bullying, and Creating
a Life Worth Living

Dan Savage
(Young Adult)
Changing Ones:
Third and Fourth Genders
in Native North America

Will Roscoe



Dangerous Liaisons:
Blacks, Gays, and the
Struggle for Equality

Eric Brandt
Homosexuality and Civilization
Louis Crompton

Genders & Sexualities
in Modern Thailand

Peter A. Jackson
Dual Attraction:
Understanding Bisexuality

Martin S. Weinberg

Whipping Girl:
A Transsexual Woman
on Sexism and the
of Femininity

Julia Serano

Gay Berlin:
Birthplace of a
Modern Identity

Robert Beachy

A Queer History
of the United States

Michael Bronski

Surpassing the Love
of Men: Romantic Friendship
and Love Between Women
from the Renaissance to
     the Present
Lillian Faderman
Bisexuality in the
Ancient World

Eva Cantarella

Transgender Warriors:
Making History from
Joan of Arc to Dennis Rodman

Leslie Feinberg

I Left It On the
Mountain: A Memoir

Kevin Sessums
Minnie Bruce Pratt

Rapture Practice:
A True Story About Growing
Up Gay in an Evangelical Family

Aaron Hartzler
(Young Adult)

Some Assembly Required:
The Not-So-Secret Life
of a Transgender Teen

Arin Andrews
(Young Adult)

Intersex (For
Lack of a Better Word
Thea Hillman

The Harvey Milk Story

Kari Krakow


Leaves of Grass
Walt Whitman

Body Alchemy:
Transsexual Portraits

Loren Cameron
Playing It Queer:
Popular Music, Identity,
and Queer World-Making

Jodie Taylor

The Invisibles:
Vintage Portraits
of Love and Pride

Sebastien Lifshitz
For more information or additional recommendations, contact us.

Hodges, Andrew (1983). Alan Turing : the enigma. London: Burnett Books.
Copeland, Jack (18 June 2012). "Alan Turing: The codebreaker who saved 'millions of lives'". BBC News Technology. Retrieved 22 June 2015.
Spencer, Clare (11 September 2009). "Profile: Alan Turing". BBC News. Update 13 February 2015

Friday, June 19, 2015

MLC Reads: June 19, 2015

We feel so lucky to live in a day and age when so many wonderful books are available. This past week, we read some beauties:

The Boston Girl
written by Anita Diamant
three stars

"'How did I get to be the woman I am today?' It started in that library, in the reading club. That's where I started to be my own person." This is a nice book about a grandmother's reflections on her life to her granddaughter. It brushes past historical events with tiny whispers instead of leaving the broad strokes  we wanted. A cozy read, perfect for waiting rooms and airport terminals.

I'm My Own Dog
written and illustrated by David Ezra Stein
five stars

I'm My Own Dog is a must-read for dog-lovers, young and old. Not only are the illustrations extremely appealing, the story itself is heartwarming and laugh out loud funny. This picture book is perfect for younger readers because of the large font and the relatively low number of words per page. We highly recommend I'm My Own Dog to everyone who has ever owned-or been owned by-a dog. By the way, this picture book is a Magnolia Award nominee for 2016!

 Saga: Volume I
written by Brian K. Vaughan
illustrated by Fiona Staples
five stars

Wow. The artwork is beautiful. The story is well-written. The dialogue is witty and snarky. The characters are interesting, full of quirks, and loveable. And the whole volume has a nice spattering of what-the-heck thrown in for those of us who are fans of random happenings. Yes, this is vague, but everyone really just needs to read it for themselves.

If that's not tantalizing enough, there's a lie detecting cat in the graphic novel. Now there's absolutely no reason not to read it.

These are the books stacked on our bedside table this week:
  • And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell and illustrated by Henry Cole
  • Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
  • Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
 Happy reading!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

June is LGBT Pride Month!

Hello everyone.

I'm doing a little guest blogging today in honor of LGBT Pride Month, and I thought first I would share a bit about how June came to be LGBT Pride Month.

On June 28th, 1969, in the early hours of the morning, what is considered to be the most important event in modern LGBT liberation took place at New York City's Stonewall Inn.  Police raids on gay bars in the 1960s happened all the time, but the particular raid that happened at the Stonewall Inn on June 28th broke the mold, because, unlike all the other raids, the patrons of Stonewall Inn fought back.

Very few establishments welcomed openly gay people in the 1950s and 1960s, and the Stonewall Inn was the only bar for gay men in NYC that allowed dancing. Like the other gay bars in the city, it was prepared for raids. The inside was painted black and very dimly lit. When a raid took place, regular lighting was turned on as a signal to let everyone know to stop dancing. Typically all customers of the bar were asked for identification. Any lacking identification were arrested. Any dressed in full drag were arrested. Women who were not found to be wearing at least three pieces of feminine clothing were arrested. Most of the time raids happened early enough in the evening that bar could re-open and resume business.

At 1:20 AM on Saturday, June 28, 1969, policemen entered the Stonewall Inn with the intent to close the business permanently. The patrons were caught off guard: those who had never experienced a raid stood in confusion; those who figured out what was going on took off running for doors and windows. None escaped. The raid started off just like any other. All were lined up so they might show identification when instructed. Those dressed as women were to be sent with female officers to the restroom to have their sex verified. However, on this night, having had enough mistreatment, men in line refused to show ID. The women refused to go to the restrooms and suffer that particular humiliation. In response to the resistance, the police simply decided to just take every single person in the bar down to the station. Those in drag were separated from everyone else. Several lesbians were touched inappropriately while being frisked. Other patrons were pushed or kicked forcefully out of the bar. Officers began loading the people into the wagons.

All of these activities did not go unnoticed. A crowd began to gather outside of the bar. Not many left the bar quietly. Those who were let go did so with facetious salutes and applause from the many bystanders. Several people who had been kicked out of the bar but not arrested stayed to see how things would play out. A transvestite who was shoved by an officer responded by smacking him on the head with her purse. The crowd was jovial and good humored at first, yelling about gay power and singing show tunes. When a woman was hit on the head with a baton and dragged into the back of a wagon for complaining of too-tight handcuffs, the mood went from slightly hostile to explosive. All it took to spur the riot was a cry out for the crowd to do something. The results of this query came quickly: there was fighting in the street; attempts to tip over police wagons; a myriad of thrown objects including beer cans, bricks, and coins, and garbage. Some of the police, who were now far outnumbered, barricaded themselves inside the Stonewall Inn, and soon the projectiles were aimed at the building. Garbage was lit on fire and stuffed into the building, a parking meeting was used as a battering ram. The altercation lasted for 45 minutes. Back-up police managed to free the trapped officers, but failed to disperse the crowd. The streets were not cleared until around 4 AM.

Subsequent riots broke out in Greenwich Village over the next several days. There was a feeling of fervor all throughout. Within the next six months gay activist groups were formed, gay newspapers were instituted,  marches were being organized. Within two years, there were gay rights groups in many major cities around the world. The riots that resulted out of a bar raid became a symbol of gays and lesbians fighting back. Christopher Street Liberation Day resulted out of the riots, the first celebrated on June 28, 1970. In June of 1999, the Stone Wall Inn became recognized as a National Historic Landmark. On June 1, 2009, President Barack Obama declared June Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month.

The month of June was chosen for LGBT Pride Month to commemorate the Stonewall riot. Because of this, many pride events are held during this month to celebrate and remember the LGBT community past, present, and future.

Carter, David (2004). Stonewall: The Riots that Sparked the Gay Revolution, St. Martin's Press.
Duberman, Martin (1993). Stonewall, Penguin Books. Now, to help us celebrate, let's talk books! Stories written by LGBT authors and/or about LGBT characters.

For more information or additional recommendations, contact us. Here we go!


And Tango Makes Three
Justin Richardson, Peter Parnell, and Henry Cole

10,000 Dresses
Marcus Ewert and Rex Ray      

King and King
 Linda de Haan and Stern Nijland


  Gracefully Grayson
Ami Polonsky

Better Nate Than Ever
Tim Federle


Ellen Wittlinger

Two Boys Kissing
David Levithan

Not Otherwise Specified
Hannah Moskowitz

J. R. Lenk


The Miseducation of Cameron Post
Emily M. Danforth

Just Between Us
J. H. Trumble

Jeffrey Eugenides


Written on the Body
Jeannette Winterson

Painted Faces
L. H. Cosway

Bastard Out of Carolina
Dorothy Allison

 The Picture of Dorian Gray
Oscar Wilde

Stone Butch Blues
Leslie Feinberg

GRAPHIC NOVELS (All for adults unless otherwise specified)

Calling Dr. Laura
Nicole J. Georges

Blue is the Warmest Color
Julie Maroh

The Less Than Epic Adventures of TJ and Amal
E. K. Weaver*

Steve and Mark (Khaos Komix #1)
Tab A. Kimpton*

Kevin (Archie Comics)
Paul Kupperberg (Young Adult)

GENRE FICTION (All for adults unless otherwise specified)

Tipping the Velvet
 Sarah Waters

Kushiel's Dart
Jacqueline Carey

Luck in the Shadows
Lynn Flewelling
(YA-Older Teen)

The Left Hand of Darkness
Ursula K. Le Guin
 Science Fiction

That’s all for now! Check back for part 2 of our LGBT Pride Month blog posts early next week. The next one will include non-fiction recommendations and more history.

Have a great weekend everyone. Do tons of reading, feel free to comment on this post, show your pride, and give the LGBTQQI person(s) in your life a hug and/or tell them you appreciate them!

*web comic
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