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PSC Library Newsletter

PSC Library Newsletter


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What’s Newsworthy: Library Book Club

Join us for a love story so epic that the Trojan War is a subplot. On Monday, November 13th at noon we’ll discuss Madeline Miller’s The Song of Achilles in the library classroom and online. We have plenty of ebooks, an audiobook, and a print copy available for checkout. This program is free and open to all. Click this link to add this event to your calendar.

Book Club Meeting: The Song of Achilles

Monday, November 13 · 12:00 – 12:30 pm

Time zone: America/Chicago

Google Meet Video call link: https://meet.google.com/rob-vyhr-cps

How to: Celebrate Día de los Muertos

Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a national holiday in Mexico that lasts from October 31st through November 2nd. This celebration “combines Aztec cultural religious practices complementing and convoluting with Catholic traditions. Day of the Dead and the Catholic holiday All Saints’ Day or Hallowmas coincide. All are days of spiritual bonding with the dead in heaven." Ancestors are welcomed back home with offerings at altars. Professor McCann and her students have created some Day of the Dead altars in the library across from the circulation desk. They will be displayed from October 25th - November 5th. Please come in to view them any time that we are open.

Something New

The library has research guides (91 to be exact) that explain all sorts of things from how to conduct research in different classes, like COMM 101, to how to cite sources, to archived reading lists from the Black Student Union.

We have two new additions to the list. The Americans and the Holocaust Research Guide archives all of the programming associated with the Spring ‘23 Americans and the Holocaust traveling exhibition. It includes lists of lectures, concerts, and other programming, as well as any associated slides, and recordings if available.

Our June 2023 newsletter had a Pride theme which included countless great resources carefully researched by our own CJ Raich. These resources now live in this LGBTQIA+ Research Guide anytime you need them.

Librarian Watercooler: One Books and Book Bannings

by Valerie Moore, Outreach and Engagement Librarian/Associate Professor

"Democratic governments don't ban books. Authoritarian ones do."

-Alexi Giannoulias, ILA (Illinois Library Association) Annual Conference, 2023

As I write this on October 18th, my colleague and I are preparing to present at the ILA (Illinois Library Association) annual conference on our experience running the One Book, One Community reading of Art Spiegelman’s graphic novel Maus. If this program sounds familiar it is because I flooded your inboxes with information six months ago. The short version is that Dawn and I ran a program with a community-wide reading of Art Spiegelman’s graphic novel Maus during the spring semester. We had 375 participants inside and outside of PSC. This included those who read the book as part of a class, those who attended the book club meeting, and those who participated in the wider community. Our presentation will discuss this pilot program, in hopes that others can create their own One Book program.

Maus was selected for multiple reasons: it is multidisciplinary, it fits the themes from the exhibition, and graphic novels are wonderful for reluctant readers. Thankfully, faculty across multiple disciplines used the book in their courses. This isn’t the only reason I selected Maus though, but first, a little context below.

Meanwhile, Banned Books Week has come and gone. Book bannings have increased 33% since last school year, as tracked by the American Library Association (ALA), with banned books mostly “by or about people of color or L.G.B.T.Q. people.” This brings me to the other reason I selected Maus. While we were planning accompanying programming for the Americans and the Holocaust traveling exhibition, Maus was banned by a school board in Tennessee, due to “‘inappropriate language’ and an illustration of a nude woman, according to minutes from a board meeting.” With this, Maus joined a cohort of banned books that were removed from the curriculum, and/or library shelves.

Our modern book bannings have echoes from the past. Book burning has historically been used as a vehicle for controlling culture, which ideas are to be shared, and which ones shunned. Books that were considered “un-German” were targeted during Nazi book burnings, particularly those by Jewish authors, those critical of the regime, and supporters of communism. This was done because “subversive” ideas are threatening to authoritarian regimes.

Maus was banned, not burned by a Tennessee school board, and yet the students in that school district won’t have access to this graphic novel at least for the foreseeable future. The end result is the same whether done as a fiery spectacle or bureaucratically via board meeting minutes. Students in theory can get these ideas elsewhere, but in practice, they won’t have access to this book, or these histories. It feeds into a revisionist history in which horrible events like the Holocaust are erased from the classroom.

As educators we don’t teach students about slavery, Jim Crow, or the Trail of Tears to upset them; we teach them these facts so that they can be informed about where we came from, and who we are as a country. We also hope that we can prevent such horrible acts in the future and create informed and active citizens. As Mark Twain may have said, "History doesn't repeat itself, but it often rhymes."

Featured eBooks

November is Native American Heritage Month. Below is a list of ebooks by Native American authors and books about the Native American experience. Enjoy this preview, or the full display in the library this month.

Cover: This Place

This Place

Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm

Cover: Dispossessing the Wilderness

Dispossessing the Wilderness

Mark David Spence

Cover: The Night Watchman

The Night Watchman

Louise Erdrich

Cover: We Are Water Protectors

We Are Water Protectors

Carole Lindstrom

Cover: There There

There There

Tommy Orange

Cover: We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga

We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga

Traci Sorell

Lastly, the library is here for you; reach out with any questions at Ask a Librarian!