Did you know that Hispanic Heritage Month first began in 1968, but it only lasted for one week? Then in 1988, it was expanded to a whole month. September 15 is of special significance because many countries – Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua – celebrate their independence. Throughout the month and beyond, it’s a great time to learn more about the traditions, history, and contributions of people of Hispanic and Latin American descent.
Yesterday marked the beginning of Banned Books Week, a week that aims to celebrate the freedom of literary expression. Book censorship is a rising problem in the United States, with the American Library Association reporting an “unprecedented” number of book challenges, as well as The New York Timesdictating in January that “parents, activists, school board officials and lawmakers around the country are challenging books at a pace not seen in decades.” For whatever the reason, there has been a consistent rise in censorship attempts; Banned Books Week is an effort to both raise awareness in opposition to these attacks on literary freedom and to celebrate the books that have been targeted. I hope to lay out a brief history of book censorship, especially in the United States, to provide context as to why this week is so critical.
Other than the shock of spring, summer is far and away the most verdant time of year. It is the perfect time to get the overalls on, find your gardening gloves and trowel, and spend hazy days in the garden. If you’re the sort of person who finds fulfilment on your knees in the soil, or even if you simply appreciate a good house plant, then this blog is for you! I’d like to highlight our extensive plant and gardening section here at the library, as well as shout out a fantastic event we’re having here involving plants and gardening that you won’t want to miss!
This Friday, April 29th, marks the 150th anniversary of Arbor Day! The tree planter’s holiday is celebrated nationally and internationally and is particularly grand to us here locally. Bexley is a city that loves its trees. Among the 14,000 trees here, you’ll see various types including white oaks, scarlet oaks, shingle oaks, bur oaks, sugar maples, and red maples to name a few. The tree lined streets define this city. In fact, in 2013 Bexley was accredited as an arboretum, the first city in the U.S. to do so.
Despite the protections of free speech that are enshrined in our Constitution, there are still those present in our society that wish to impose censorship in the literary world. Books are being challenged for their content and are being banned from schools and libraries at an alarming rate. It is important now, more than ever, to stand up to the growing encroachment of censorship and book banning, as it can be a slippery slope that ultimately leads to a fearful, closed-minded, and mistrustful society. This is why Bexley Public Library is determined to help stand up to censorship, and we invite you to do the same as part of our two-part Standing Up To Censorship program. Parts I and II of this program can be attended both in-person in the BPL Auditorium, as well as online via Zoom.
We’re excited Libby is becoming the primary way to enjoy our digital library! While the OverDrive app is being phased out, we believe the award winning Libby app will be a better reading experience for all of our patrons. Libby is the way to check out our growing catalog of millions of eBooks, audiobooks, and magazines. With Libby, you can check out indie authors all the way to James Patterson, books from Diary of a Wimpy Kid to Harry Potter, and magazines from Us Weekly to Cooks Illustrated. There really is something for everyone!
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a towering figure of the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s. Today, we honor his legacy, his commitment to non-violence, and his incessant will to see America through to true societal equality. While it can be easy to treat Martin Luther King Jr. day as just another holiday or day off, I believe it is important to take action on a day like this. Ohio state Senator Hearcel Craig calls Martin Luther King Jr. Day “a day on, and not a day off, because of what Dr. King represented and his focus on service.” So, if you are looking for ways to get involved and to honor Dr. King’s legacy, I have compiled some materials, resources, and events to plan a day of service around.
2021 was such exciting an year for the BPL Book Club! We read books new and old, discovered authors from around the globe, and, after many months of discussions on Zoom, we finally met in person! Thanks to all those who participated online and in the BPL Quiet Reading Room. Now it’s time to take a look back at what we read in 2021, and to see what we have planned for 2022. And, of course, be sure to join us in the New Year as we embark on even more literary adventures. Whether you’re a regular or first-timer, we’d love to have you!
Juneteenth – also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Liberation Day, and Emancipation Day – is a holiday that celebrates the emancipation of those who were enslaved in the United States. It originated in Galveston, Texas, recognizing the anniversary of the June 19, 1865 announcement of General Order No. 3. This order freed the remaining enslaved people in the state via President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.
Election Day 2020 is now a mere 43 days away. Somehow this seems like both a lifetime away and, well, tomorrow. Regardless of how you plan to vote this November, Bexley Public Library is here to help! To encourage everyone in the community to exercise one of their most fundamental rights, we are hosting two drive-in voter registration events with The League of Women Voters on Tuesday, (TOMORROW!) September 22 from 3-5PM and Thursday, October 1 from 5-7PM. Both events will be held in the BPL parking lot and will also feature musical guests and food trucks. Join us as we celebrate – maybe not the election itself, but at least our ability to have a say in its outcome! And be sure to visit http://bexleylibrary.org/vote or give us a call at 614-231-2793 to get more information on deadlines, procedures, accessing voting materials, etc.
In the spirit of the election season, I’ve composed a list of some of my favorite “political” (I’m using that term in a fairly broad sense) books. And while this list is attached to a post about preparing for the upcoming election, I’ve chosen books that, I think, are largely non-partisan, and don’t focus much on presidential elections or candidates. Rather, they’re books that have helped me better understand and refine my own political worldview, while also helping me better understand those views I may not agree with. Importantly, several of these books put the struggles and concerns of real people at their centers: in my mind, what politics should always be about. Such stories help us build empathy for, and an understanding of people who aren’t always politically aligned with us already. Happy reading!
The Populist’s Guide to 2020: A New Right and New Left are Rising by Krystal Ball and Saagar Enjeti | print
Freedom is a Constant Struggle by Angela Davis | print / digital
Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt by Hedges and Sacco | print
With Liberty and Justice for Some by Glenn Greenwald | print
Strangers in their Own Land by Arlie Russell Hochschild | print / digital