Thursday, September 27, 2007

First Week in October

Roundabout Exit 151 (and in many other communities), the first week of October is a celebration of the Latin adage mens sana in corpore sano [a sound mind in a sound body] with Banned Books Week and iWalk.

Banned Books Week buttonBanned Books Week 2007, September 29-October 6, is sponsored by the American Library Association. Their list of the most frequently challenged books is instructive reading all by itself, as are the suggestions on ways to celebrate the freedom to read. No surprise, most involve reading (including blog reading).

My local public library is a Carnegie grant library, one of 1,689 in the U.S. (and 828 elsewhere). Even though it was basically charity, there was little stinting inside or out – the original copper roof was finally replaced in kind this summer. The trees have grown up around the building, so it's hard to get a good photo this time of year, but notice the copper penny color on top versus the 90-year-old patina on the window mullions.

Free Public Library

More important than the bricks and mortar outside are the treasures inside – books, newspapers, periodicals, media, computers with Internet access – all freely available to patrons. When the library was built in 1914, the concept of free public lending and open stacks was considered daring, even dangerous. Judging from contemporary U.S. controversies as disparate as evolution, climate change, net neutrality, AIDS education, and HPV vaccination, there would seem to be plenty of would-be thought police with any number of agendas who still think so. In a global context, freedom to read is even more precious. It's no coincidence that dictators everywhere first seek to suppress, censor, ban, and burn books.

iWalk button   Safe Routes to School button


Thinking globally, October 3 is iWalk 2007, International Walk [and Bike] to School Day, which in the U.S. is sponsored by the National Center for Safe Routes to School. iWalk is a full month in some parts of the world, where the emphasis is on encouraging school enrollment. Roundabout prosperous Exit 151, the emphasis of the day is on reducing childhood obesity, reducing traffic congestion and speed, reducing fossil fuel emissions, and reducing stress! See who's walking in New Jersey, in the U.S., and globally.

7 comments:

--Deb said...

I love the irony that "Banned Books Week" is overlaps with "Buy Your Friend A Book Week" . . .

Calling on Kahlo said...

It was very interesting to read which books are on that list. A lot I have read, and some I don't understand where the controversy can be. Thank you for the educational post, we should celebrate and protect our freedom to read.

dragon knitter said...

i'm assuming that a wrinkle in time is on the list for the same reason harry potter is? because adults can be close-minded, and not willing to allow children to explore alternate realities, where "god" isn't in charge?

i bookmarked the list, and i've made it my goal to read everything on that list, unless i've already read it. granted some may be difficult to get, like sex by madonna. but i'll give it the old college try!

ChefSara said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bezzie said...

Wait, that's the Montclair library! All the books I *want* to read are there but we're limited what we can check out there since we don't technically live in Montclair. I get stuck with the REBL limitations. Bah!

Ina said...

chefsara: Thanks for your comment, but I don't allow advertising links on my blog.

trek said...

Yay, books and walks!