Hackney Library Celebrates Challenged/Banned Books During “Banned Books Week,” September 25-October 1, 2016

bbw2016_poster_300-1What could E. L. James’s erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey, the Holy Bible, and Susan Kuklin’s nonfiction Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out possibly have in common?

Surprisingly enough, they all share the dubious distinction of being among the top 10 most frequently challenged or banned books in the United States in 2015.

At #6, The Holy Bible makes its first appearance ever on an annual ALA list of challenged titles.  According to Alison Flood in a recent article in the Guardian, James La Rue, director of the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, theorizes that users object to the Bible’s presence in libraries because of its “religious viewpoint. . . . people who feel that if a school library buys a copy of the Bible, it’s a violation of church and state.”  La Rue explains further that “sometimes there’s a retaliatory action, where a religious group has objected to a book and a parent might respond by objecting to the Bible.”

What is a “challenged” or “banned book,” you may ask?  Here’s how the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom defines both in paragraph 4 of its Banned and Challenged Books page:

A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A banning is the removal of those materials. Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others. As such, they are a threat to freedom of speech and choice.

To counteract these threats amounting to censorship, The American Library Association (ALA) sponsors Banned Books Week every year to encourage readers to check out challenged or banned books and make their own decisions about the books they read.  This year Banned Books Week is being celebrated from September 25 through October 1, 2016, and is focused on diversity. 

In celebration of Banned Books Week, Hackney Library will display copies of print books in our collection (just look for the bright yellow “Caution!” tape around the display near the library’s Technology Classroom on the first floor) that have made Banned Books lists in the past, including numbers 5, 6, and 7 on the list below for 2015.  All the books in the display are meant to be read, so please feel free to grab a title or more off the display to check out and read for yourself!

The ALA, which tracks challenges to various books in libraries and school curricula each year, recorded 275 challenges to books in 2015, the most recent year for available data.  The top ten “banned” or challenged books for 2015 make for strange bedfellows (so to speak); here are the titles on that list, and the reasons cited for their challenges:

  1. Looking for Alaska by popular Young Adult genre author John Green (Reasons cited: offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group)
  2. Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James (Reasons cited: sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, poorly written, etc.)
  3. I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings (Reasons cited: inaccurate, homosexuality, sex education, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group)
  4. Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin (Reasons cited: anti-family, offensive language, homosexuality, sex education, political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group, etc.)
  5. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon (Reasons cited: offensive language, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group, profanity, atheism)
  6. The Holy Bible (Reasons cited: religious viewpoint)
  7. Fun Home by Alison Bechdel (Reasons cited: violence, graphic images)
  8. Habibi by Craig Thompson (Reasons cited: nudity, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group)
  9. Nasreen’s Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan by Jeanette Winter (Reasons cited: religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group, violence)
  10. Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan (Reasons cited: homosexuality, condones public displays of affection, etc.)

As you can see from the 2015 top-ten list, challenges to books run the gamut, coming from both the liberal and the conservative ends of the cultural spectrum; ironically, sometimes the same reason is cited by both extremes but in relation to completely different books.   It’s not unusual for books we now consider classics to have been challenged or banned. The most frequently-cited reasons for book challenges include the following:

  • Sexually explicit content
  • Offensive language
  • Content unsuited to the targeted age group
  • Violence
  • Homosexuality
  • Expression of religious viewpoint
  • Drug use

Feel free to come by to check out and read as many “banned books” from our Banned Books display as you’d like, and defend first amendment rights by being willing to Stand Up for Your [And Everyone Else’s] Right to Read!

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“Unplugged Game Night” Changes Meetings to Every other Tuesday, Beginning September 13

Board game game night

Photo credit: Ken Dozier

Starting on Tuesday, September 13, 2016, “Unplugged Game Nights” in Hackney Library will be (slightly) changing location  and meeting days.

The new location is still in the Hackney Library building, but instead of meeting in the Technology Classroom, the group will now gather at tables in the Learning Commons area on the library’s first floor.  (Look for the green signs on the tabletops!)

And instead of meeting each second and fourth Tuesday of each month during the semester, “Unplugged Game Nights” will now be held every other Tuesday from 7 pm to midnight.  The first session in this new schedule begins on September 13, and will alternate every other Tuesday thereafter during the semester.  (During exam periods and breaks, the group will not meet.)

According to organizer Ken Dozier (who by day is Barton College’s Web Services Manager), “‘Unplugged Game Night’ offers a variety of uncommon board and card games for a diverse array of gamers. Whether you enjoy plotting stratagems over a game board or just shooting the breeze while playing a hand of cards, there is a game to fit your tastes.” Attendees are also encouraged to bring their own games to share during the evening, if they wish, or play some of the games available in the library’s Learning Cafe.  Students, employees, and the public are welcome to attend.  Gaming lasts until the last gamer leaves or the library closes — whichever comes first!

He invites non-electronic gamers of all stripes to “join us every other Tuesday night, and discover a world of games you never knew existed.”  Just remember to adjust your calendar to the new meeting schedule!

Please join us!

 

 

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Two ‘Friends of the Library’ Groups Join Forces to Bring Author Michael Parker to Wilson for a Dinner/Lecture Program on October 4, 2016

new parker photo

Author Michael Parker

The Friends of Hackney Library and Friends of the Wilson County Public Library are pleased to welcome short story writer, novelist, and journalist Michael Parker as guest speaker of a jointly-sponsored dinner/lecture on October 4, 2016, in Hardy Alumni Hall on the campus of Barton College.

The event will begin with a book signing and wine reception at 6:00 pm, followed by dinner at 6:30 pm, and the program immediately afterward.   Titled “A Man Came Up From Wilmington Carrying A Bag of Snakes” after one of his essays,  Parker’s presentation will address the relationship between his work and his having grown  up in Eastern North Carolina.

Michael Parker, a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill and the University of Virginia, is the author of six novels – Hello Down There, Towns Without Rivers, Virginia Lovers, If You Want Me To Stay, The Watery Part of the World, and his latest, All I Have In This World–and two collections of stories, The Geographical Cure and Don’t Make Me Stop Now.

His latest work, All I Have In This World, is “a tender novel about our desire to reconcileCover--Parker All I Have In This World past mistakes, and the ways we must learn to forgive others, and perhaps even ourselves, if we are ever to move on,” Parker’s web site explains.  The plot centers around two troubled but appealing characters, Marcus and Maria:  “Two strangers meet on a windswept car lot in West Texas. Marcus is fleeing the disastrous fallout of chasing a lifelong dream; Maria is returning to the hometown she fled years ago, to make amends. They begin to argue over the car that they both desperately want–a low-slung sky-blue twenty-year-old Buick Electra.”  And thus begins an unlikely partnership, not just in their impulsive decision to purchase and share jointly the car Marcus affectionately dubs “Her Lowness,” but also in their mutual struggle toward absolution for their respective life missteps.

The novel has garnered much acclaim.  Mark Richard, author of House of Prayer No. 2, characterizes Parker’s latest work in this way:  “’Car as crucible’ might be the thesis for Michael Parker’s best novel yet.  In front seats and back seats we conjure love and contemplate ruin, as do the wonderful characters in All I Have in This World.  Parker again extends his geographical and emotional ranges here in this layered and nuanced story of heartbroken, debt-ridden and atonement-seeking creatures much like many of us. So get in and drive on. Or as they say in North Carolina, ‘Let’s go to ride.’”

A Denver Post critique praises the authenticity of the novel and its characters as expressed through the use of humor:  “But what makes ‘All I Have in this World’ memorable is this:  While any number of disasters can (and do) take place along the way, and while some are heartbreaking, the watershed moments happen not with sadness or blood or pain, but with cascades of laughter.  It’s through moments of unabashed humor, when Marcus and Maria let go and laugh, that his characters finally, and completely, connect.  Which feels a lot like real life.”

Parker’s short fiction and nonfiction have appeared in various journals including Five Points, the Georgia Review, The Southwest Review, Epoch, the Washington Post, the New York Times Magazine, Oxford American, Shenandoah, The Black Warrior Review, Trail Runner, Runner’s World and Men’s Journal.

Parker has received fellowships in fiction from the North Carolina Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as the Hobson Award for Arts and Letters, and the North Carolina Award for Literature. His work has been anthologized in the Pushcart, New Stories from the South and O. Henry Prize Stories anthologies.  He is the Vacc Distinguished Professor in the MFA Writing Program at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and since 2009 has been on the faculty of the Warren Wilson Program for Writers.  He lives in Greensboro, North Carolina and Austin, Texas.

Critics have lavished prodigious praise on the memorable characters and descriptive language in Parker’s entire body of work.  The Washington Post characterizes his appeal in this way:  “In prose languid and mysterious. . . . Parker writes descriptions as precise as line engravings, more revealing than recordings or photographs.”  Frederick Busch of The New York Times Book Review offers his assessment of the allure of Parker’s work:   “What makes Mr. Parker so satisfying a writer: his bone-deep affection for his characters; his love of clear, crisp, pungent language. . . his confidence in the possibility of redemption.” And as author Lee K. Abbott puts it in the flyleaf of Parker’s novel If You Want Me to Stay, “Only Michael Parker can tell a story you don’t want to quit about folks you don’t want to leave. . . . He has us all in mind—all of us who are needy and scared and running fast from the past, all of us who believe in magic and miracles, all of us beleaguered and bewitched by love.”

Books by the author will be sold at the event both during the book signing/wine reception prior to the program and following dinner; Parker will be on hand to sign books at those times as well.

Admission to the event is $30 each for Friends of Hackney Library members; for Barton faculty/staff, students, and spouses; and for Friends of the Wilson County Public Library members.  For all other guests, admission is $35 each.

For more information about invitations for the dinner, please contact Luann Clark at (252) 399-6329, or email the Friends of Hackney Library at fohl@barton.edu.  Space is limited, and after invitations have been issued, reservations for the dinner must be received by September 27, 2016.

This event is sponsored in part by BB&T.

 

 

 

 

 

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Constitution Day Program 2016 to Feature NC Supreme Court Associate Justice Robin E. Hudson

Sup Ct Justice Robin Hudson

NC Supreme Court Associate Justice Robin E. Hudson

Hackney Library is pleased to host the Honorable Robin E. Hudson, Associate Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, as featured speaker at our annual Constitution Day reception and program.  The event will be held this year on Monday, September 19, 2016 at Hackney Library from 5:00-7:00 pm.  

(Constitution Day is traditionally celebrated each September 17 to mark the anniversary of the signing of the United States Constitution on that date in 1787, but since it falls on a Saturday this year, the commemoration of the 229th anniversary is on the following Monday instead.) 

The reception, which begins at 5:00 pm in the Learning Commons on the first floorwill feature refreshments, followed by the program at 5:30 pm.  Justice Hudson’s presentation will address “Judicial Elections and Money: Why Our Courts are not For Sale.” After the presentation, a question-and-answer period will conclude the program.

This free event is sponsored by Hackney Library and is open to the Barton community as well as to the general public.

North Carolina Supreme Court Associate Justice Robin E. Hudson holds a BA degree in philosophy and psychology from Yale University and a JD degree from the University of North Carolina School of Law.  She was admitted to the North Carolina Bar in 1976 and practiced law in Raleigh and Durham until elected to the Court of Appeals in November 2000.  She is the first North Carolina woman elected to the appellate court division without having been appointed first.  Justice Hudson served on the NC Court of Appeals from January 2001 through December 2006. During that time, she helped organize and coordinate the Court of Appeals voluntary mediation program.  She was elected to the Supreme Court and began her first 8-year term in January 2007.  In 2014, she was re-elected to her current term, which runs through 2022.

Except for 3 years as assistant appellant defender in the mid 1980s, Justice Hudson practiced law in the private sector and handled a variety of trials and appeals, but concentrated on workers’ compensation and tort litigation, with particular emphasis on occupational disease and products liability, as well as criminal law.  She practiced extensively before the Industrial Commission, as well as in all levels of State and Federal courts.  From 1994 until she began serving on the Court of Appeals, she was certified to mediate cases from Superior Court and the Industrial Commission.

She has served on a variety of boards, professional associations, and commissions, including her appointment by the Chief Justice to the Family Court Advisory Committee in 2001.  In addition, she has received a variety of awards and honors:  In 2004, she received the Outstanding Appellate Judge Award from the North Carolina Academy of Trial Lawyers (now Advocates for Justice); in 2005, she was awarded the Voices of Experience Recognition by the Gold Leaf Chapter of the Association of Business Women of America; in 2006 she received the Women of Achievement Award from the General Federation of Women’s clubs; and in 2008, she received the Gwyneth B. Davis Award for Public Services for the North Carolina Association of Women Attorneys.

Justice Hudson was born in DeKalb County, Georgia but moved to Greensboro, NC with her family in 1966.  She is married and has two grown children—both second grade teachers—and one granddaughter.

Please join us on September 19 for an informative program on the Constitution by a member of the North Carolina’s highest state court.

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Hackney Library’s 11th Annual Open House Scheduled for Thursday, August 18!

Jay Williams TV ImageHackney Library’s throwing a party, and you are invited!

On Thursday, August 18, we will be hosting our eleventh annual Open House from 4-6 pm on the first floor of Hackney Library, during which we will both be welcoming new students, faculty and staff to the Library and to the Office of Student Success and welcoming back returning students, staff, and faculty.

The Open House, which is sponsored by Hackney Library, the Office of Student Success, and the Friends of Hackney Library, is also open to the public.

Jay Williams coverThis year’s Open House celebrates Jay Williams’s Life Is Not An Accident:  A Memoir of Reinvention, which has been chosen as this year’s FYS Summer Reader (as well as the Wilson County Public Library’s 2016 “Wilson Reads” selection).

As always, we will have oodles of takeaways for attendees to enjoy:

  • All who complete a brief online survey at the event will once again receive one of our wildly popular Library Open House t-shirts (again designed this year by Barton art professor Susan Fecho, who has incorporated themes from Williams’s memoir).
  • In addition, other giveaways from the Library and the Office of Student Success (OSS) will be available to attendees visiting six “stations” around the library (each is designed to introduce new Barton community members to the library’s and OSS’s faculty/staff and services, as well as to refresh the memory of returnees).
  • You will have the  opportunity to “build-your-own” scrumptious ice cream sundae again this year in the library’s foyer (thanks to Tony Tilley and his incomparable Aramark crew).
  • You will also be able to purchase a bookstore copy of Williams’s Life Is Not An Accident at the event ($23.00, including tax).

And last but not least, a door prize drawing for fantastic prizes (see the list below!) will be held at 5:30 pm, so plan to hang around until then, as you must be present to win! 

  • $100 Amazon gift card
  • Three kinds of portable, wireless water-resistant speakers for indoor/outdoor listening pleasure
  • A phone-/keyring-attachable tile with finder app to locate misplaced phones and keys
  • A compact key holder–no more loose, jangling keys poking holes in your pockets
  • Sleep headphones/eye mask–drift off to sleep to your favorite tunes with these comfortable CozyPhones

An opportunity to join the Friends of Hackney Library will be also be available at a table at the event for those who’d like to support the work of the library while reaping the benefits of membership.

So come check us out on Thursday, August 18th from 4-6 pm and see what Hackney Library and the Office of Student Success have to offer at this eleventh annual Hackney Library Open House!

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Last ‘Science & Religion in Conversation’ to be Held Tuesday, May 3rd, 3:00 pm

issrlogoThe Barton College final public forum ‘Science and Religion in Conversation’ will be held on Tuesday afternoon, May 3rd at 3 PM in Barton College’s Hackney Library.  Our discussion this month highlights The Sacred Depths of Nature by Ursula Goodenough.

Though biology at times may seem in conflict with religion, yet the hand of God as envisioned in religion may nowhere seem more spectacular than in Life which may leave one gasping in wonder. This book can awaken the reader to that experience.

After briefly reviewing the earth’s origin, The Sacred Depths of Nature by Ursula Goodenough guides us through an orchard of results and reflections.  Goodenough articulates her covenant with Mystery. She uses pithy phrases like “Life has no choice but to evolve”.   She reminds us of “…all this complexity and awareness and intent and beauty and … ability to apprehend it,” and that “we are all… creatures who are alive today, equally old, or equally recent “.

The author writes; “death is the price paid to have trees and clams and birds and grasshoppers, and death is the price to have human consciousness, to be aware of all that shimmering awareness and all that love”.  Her language is simple and clear, her prose is lucid, at times poetic. There are short quotes from thinkers and scriptures at the close of many chapters.  She quotes from the Psalms and Walt Whitman as well as lesser known authors.  Goodenough admits her inability to resonate with some traditional beliefs, yet she shows how one can respond religiously to the facts of rigorous science.

One can undergo deep religious experience, even when anchored to science.  Traditional religions stress personal conduct in relation to others.  Many of them express reverence for the powers and principles of Nature. In the face of the technological assault on the environment, there is a crying need for a planetary ethic.  Goodenough states that her agenda “for this book is to outline the foundations for such a planetary ethic, an ethic that would make no claim to supplant existing traditions but would seek to coexist with them, informing our global concerns”.  This can be effectively done with the help of the deep understanding that science offers, and the reverential humility toward the natural world that wisdom fosters.

Our monthly meetings have aimed to facilitate the ongoing dialogue between the disciplines of science and religion, one of the most important current areas of debate in terms of understanding the nature of humanity.  You may come to just listen or to freely participate in our conversation.

Please join our gathering for the final forum ‘Science and Religion in Conversation’ to be held on Tuesday afternoon, May 3rd at 3 PM.

 

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Hackney Library Hosts Historical Display

Historical plaque

This panel is the first of twelve in the series of historical panels detailing the history of Atlantic Christian/Barton College, which are now on display in Hackney Library’s Art Gallery area.

In celebration of Dr. Douglas Searcy’s recent inauguration as the twelfth president of Barton College, Hackney Library is hosting a display of twelve historical panels documenting the College’s story from the institution’s beginnings to 2015.  Shannon Wilson, College Archivist, researched and wrote the text for the exhibit while Keith Tew and Harriet Barnes in Publications designed the panels themselves.

The exhibit tells the story of Barton College using documents and photographs from the College Archives, currently housed in Harper Hall.  Dr. Norval Kneten, Barton’s 11th President, wanted an historical display for the third floor of Harper Hall to complement the portraits of the College’s Presidents and to attract the attention of prospective students and their families, as well as friends and visitors to the College.

While the panels are arranged by presidential administration, Dr. Kneten insisted that the panels not be about executive administrators but about topics of interest to students.  Consequently, each panel features a summary of activities and accomplishments in a given administration while photographs, letters, promotional literature and other archival materials describe notable events from each era.  “The idea for this exhibit came about shortly after my arrival on campus,” Wilson noted, “and provided a wonderful opportunity to become better acquainted not only with materials that had been organized by my predecesors, Hugh Johnston and Ed Holloway, but the over 250 cubic feet of unarranged materials that comprise the College Archives at the present time.”

The historical panels are currently on display in the Art Gallery area of Hackney Library and will remain throughout the rest of the Spring semester and into the Summer term.

Drop by and take a look!

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