Sunday, February 24, 2013

Freedom to Read Week Events in Edmonton

Today is the first day of Freedom to Read Week! See the event listing below to find out about the events taking place this week in Edmonton:

Sunday February 24
  • The Edmonton Public Library (EPL) and the University of Alberta Libraries are hosting a talk with Chris Hedges, who will speak about his newest book Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt.
  • The EPL Woodcroft Branch is having a Banned Books Café.
Monday February 25
Tuesday February 26
  • FLIF will again be promoting the Freedom to Read at the Jasper Place High School Global Café Living Library event.
  • The EPL Stanley A. Milner Library is having a Freedom to Listen event.
Wednesday February 27
Thursday February 28

To find out more about the EPL events, see the EPL Freedom to Read webpage.

Thanks to the FLIF Global Café Radical Bookshelf team for putting together FLIF’s Freedom to Read event this year! Watch this blog for more information about the Jasper Place High School Global Café Living Library event.

Update: The Jasper Place High School Global Café event was erroneously first posted on this blog as a closed event. We are happy to report that it is actually open to the public!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

NCAC Winning Short Films Announced

The National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) is made up of about 50 not-for-profit organizations and associations. A full list of the organizations making up the coalition is available on the NCAC website. Though the various organizations do not all agree on all aspects of opposing censorship, all support the NCAC Statement of Concern:
“Freedom of communication is the indispensable condition of a healthy democracy. In a pluralistic society it would be impossible for all people at all times to agree on the value of all ideas; and fatal to moral, artistic and intellectual growth if they did.
Some of the Coalition's participating organizations reject all barriers abridging access to any material, however controversial or even abhorrent to some. Others reject barriers for adults, so long as their individual right of choice is not infringed. All of us are united in the conviction that censorship of what we see and hear and read constitutes an unacceptable dictatorship over our minds and a dangerous opening to religious, political, artistic, and intellectual repression.”
The winners of the 2012 NCAC Youth Free Expression Project film contest have recently been announced. NCAC has given youth 19 years of age or younger who are living in the United States the chance to participate in this contest since 2004. The theme for 2012 was book censorship - You’re Reading What?!?.  The 1st place winning entry is a four minute film called “Waking” created by Eden Taylor Ames, which features a life-changing visit to the library. All winning entries are available on the NCAC website.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Providing Library Services to Inmates

Library Journal has recently released an article on library services for inmates. Though it does focus solely on the United States context, it provides an overview of a variety of resources and programs currently offered to inmates by public, prison, and jail libraries. Some of the services being offered include programs on the topics of self-employment, financial literacy, and Shakespeare (for more information on this initiative, see this video from Indiana State University). The article concludes with suggestions on how libraries can better serve inmates and released inmates, most of which are focused around building stronger partnerships between public and prison libraries.

In a more local context, members of the Edmonton library community (including some FLIF members) are currently involved in a number of projects at the Edmonton Institution for Women. The GELA (Greater Edmonton Library Association) Women’s prison subcommittee has a blog where readers can learn more about these various projects and find out how to get involved.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Ancient Texts Saved from Timbuktu Library

The BBC, Time Magazine, and Wall Street Journal are reporting that though militants in Timbuktu did burn a number of texts at the Ahmed Baba Institute early last week, the majority of ancient manuscripts were saved. The destruction of the texts occurred as French and Malian forces closed in with the aim of retaking the city.

No information is thought to be lost, as all of the material burned is believed to be digitized as a result of a partnership with the University of Cape Town. Other ancient manuscripts were reportedly removed before the militants took control of the city last year. The Wall Street Journal has described how a number of texts were more recently removed from the library: history professor/acting library director, Prof. Abdoulaye Cissé , and security guard, Abba Alhadi, moved approximately 28,000 texts to safety in early January by hiding them in burlap sacks and taking them out of the city by donkey cart and boat.

More details on this story will likely become available over the course of the next week.