Monday, September 17, 2007

Banned Books Week starts Saturday, September 29th

At the end of this week, the library will be putting up a special display of books that have been challenged in or banned from American libraries in recent years. This is something we've done almost every year I've been here, and it's always been a lot of fun to put together.

Students here at UM always seem to take to this display. I think it's because they understand the huge responsibility we have to provide access to a diverse range of voices in library collections, even when what those voices are saying is unpopular.

We've identified about 40 or 50 books, which represent only a fraction of those challenged in recent years. Once again, it's been interesting to see how many of those books are among those counted as classics, or at least important books in their respective genres. We'll be displaying these on Friday of this week and I hope that you'll come by the library soon to check one of them out.

Speaking of Observances, today is Constitution Day in the United States. Professor Jim Day will be leading the Students for Constitutional Reform at the University of Montevallo (SCRUM) and Phi Alpha Theta (history honor society) to begin a Jeter Beautification Project. Says Day, "If you’re interested in learning more about the U.S. Constitution, Alabama’s Constitution, SCRUM, or a spring-term course entitled The History of Alabama’s Constitutions, then join us outside the Jeter Building at 5:00 today."

One observance I hadn't heard of before is Unmarried and Single Americans Week. It's apparently fairly widely observed during the third week of September. According to a recent U.S. Census Bureau press release, there were 92 million unmarried and single Americans 18 and older in 2006. This group comprised a whopping 42 percent of all U.S. residents 18 and older.

Lesser known September observances include Ask a Stupid Question Day on the 28th, World Tourism Day on the 27th, and my personal favorite, International Talk Like a Pirate Day on the 19th.

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