Wednesday, August 26, 2009

United Nations' University/University of Alberta volunteer opportunities

Get those planners out - it's going to be a busy autumn!

For all those interested in human rights - and you wouldn't be here if you weren't, right? - there are opportunities to get involved with the UN University and U of A's upcoming international conference, "Towards 'the Dignity of Difference,'" happening October 2-4. That is, if you can find enough time between volunteering at Homeless Connect and celebrating not one, but TWO FLIF co-chair birthdays! A variety of positions are available - check out the details below, provided courtesy of the FGSR:

"United Nations' University - October 2-4
John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights is seeking volunteers to help with final pre-conference planning and onsite assistance for United Nations' University and University of Alberta's international conference entitled "Towards 'the Dignity of Difference'", scheduled to be held October 2-4 in Edmonton. The conference's objective is to examine the impacts and implications of the most recent iteration of the Western-centric discourse represented in Samuel Huntington's The Clash of Civilizations and Francis Fukuyama's The End of History theses. It will bring together some of the most prominent scholars in the relevant fields, as well as many distinguished public figures including: Fred R. Dallmayr, Hassan Hanafi, Benjamin Barber, Robert Cox, Hamid Dabashi, Tanya Narozhna, Roger van Zwanenberg, and Vesselin Popovski. The following committees have volunteer spaces available: conference promotion, local arrangements/onsite arrangements, registration, transportation, and social committee. If you are interested in getting involved in the exciting work of this international conference by volunteering your time, please contact Siavash Saffari ( indicating your area of interest, times when you are available and language spoken. We will be happy to discuss options or answer any questions you may have."

See you all there,


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Tintin under lock and key at the Brooklyn Public Library

A future FLIFer tipped us off on an article in today's New York Times, "A Library’s Approach to Books That Offend," by Alison Leigh Cowan.

Apparently, in 2007, due to a patron's objection to the depiction of Africans in Herge's Tintin au Congo, the Brooklyn Public Library moved the offending title from the public area of the library to a locked area with restricted access. As Cowan cites in her article,

“Policies should not unjustly exclude materials and resources even if they are offensive to the librarian or the user,’’ says the Web site of the American Library Association, which adds, “Toleration is meaningless without tolerance for what some may consider detestable.”

Check the article out and decide for yourself if restricted access is the best answer to formal objections lodged by patrons. Should "detestable" titles remain accessible to all? Take a look at the CLA and ALA Intellectual Freedom statements, where FLIF thinks you'll find your answer.

It's also very worth perusing the comments on the article for an insight into the public's perception of libraries and censorship...225 comments and going strong - there seems to be some powerful feelings out there!

Thanks C.H. for the tip!


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Volunteers needed for Homeless Connect Edmonton

Hi folks,

With the summer winding down, FLIF is gearing up for another year of activity and activism in the library community.

The Greater Edmonton Library Association's (GELA) Community Bookshelf Subcommittee will have a table set up at Homeless Connect Edmonton to distribute free books to attendees.

All new and present FLIF members are invited to volunteer for the next event on Sunday, October 4th at the Shaw Conference Centre.

Volunteers are needed for both days of the weekend. The book drop-offs and set-up for Homeless Connect will happen on Saturday, October 3, while tabling and take down will happen on Sunday, October 4. Previous events have been very successful, and the more people we have, the more we can interact with the community. Plus, as we all know, the more the merrier!

Please join the GELA Community Bookshelf Subcommittee on Facebook and let Amelia know of your willingness to lend a helping hand, or you can either send us a message at flifblog at or just show up at the inaugural FLIF meeting yet to be announced for September.

Thanks gang, and welcome back!