Month: October 2013

Original Monster Mash

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1538943238_5a046fbd2f_oIn the spirit of Halloween I wanted to share with you my favorite horror story. I’m not one for gore and guts or anything like the movie Insidious 2. I prefer horror in the classic sense. 

Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus is one of my all time favorite books and has been used and reused as one of the classic monster stories but its original version by Mary Shelly is very different than its derivatives.

http://www.timetoast.com/timelines/721723

The story idea came from a competition between some of the best romantic writers Percy Shelly- Mary’s future husband, Lord Byron-original bisexual bad boy, their doctor who really didn’t have a chance, John Polidri and then Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin who was only eighteen years old at the time.

Think of them like the four best friends anyone could have, spring breaking it up near lake Geneva sitting next to the fire and daring each other to tell a better horror story. That’s how brilliant writers do spring break, with lots of drugs, alcohol and writing classic novels that have been in print since 1818.

Mary, Percy and Byron were huge parts in the Romantic Era which I like to think of like the first hippie movement. Everyone was questioning everything. Mary’s mom, Mary Wolstonecraft, was a vital part of one of the first feminist movements and her father, William Godwin was a political philosopher and one of the first promoters of utilitarianism and anarchism.

Mary was exposed to all this knowledge philosophy and literature with big names dropping by to talk to her dad all the time. But when everything is being questioned it leaves for a very unstable upbringing.

So what does this have to do with Frankenstein, well while the book centers around a monster, sewn together with the parts of bodies dug up in the middle of the night and then jolted to life with the spark of life considered to be connected to galvanism- a new science at the time that used electricity to animate corpses, the real horror was being an outcasted by a creator.

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Guantánamo Public Memory Project @ Phoenix Public Library

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people read the panels of the exhibit
people read the panels of the exhibit

The Guantánamo Public Library Memory Project @ Phoenix Public Library is collaboration with Arizona State University’s Public History Program.

The free exhibit is located on the second floor of Barton Barr Library in Phoenix.

Eleven panels explore the history of the United States Naval Base at Guantánamo (GTMO) from the beginning of U.S. occupation in 1898 to today.

Eleven universities collaborated to create a panel that explores a different component of GTMO.

The exhibit opened at NYU in December 2012 and is traveling to 9 sites including Rutgers University, Perdue, and NYU London.

The free exhibit is now located on the second floor of Barton Barr Library in Phoenix until November 24.

The Phoenix library periodically hosts traveling exhibits said Rita Marko, Phoenix Public Library Management Assistant.

They have hosted exhibits about the Holocaust in the past and will host another exhibit in the spring.

“It coincides with out goals as a library to introduce the community to a topic,” Marko said.

The library hopes to “shed light not heat” on a topic. The library doesn’t take a position but gives an opportunity to expand the topic.

In addition to the exhibit, Phoenix public library is hosting ten events to expand on the topic starting October 23 and going until December 8.

Events include a program with music by Victor Caldee, local Cuban architect, artist, musician and balsero who was detained on the base. The program will at 6:30p.m. and will include an opportunity for participants make clay pieces to add on the chain like fence of the exhibit.

photo of clay memory shared art
Clay memory shared art featured on a chain link fence in the exhibit

Nancy Dallett, contributor and Professor in the Arizona State Public History Program says she hopes the exhibit paired with the programs give “a sense of the complicated relationship” the United States has with GTMO.

“It has been used for very different purposes since the Spanish American war to now being used for detention,” Dallett said.

Subject Librarians at ASU

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Arizona State University has eight libraries.

Five libraries are located on the Tempe campus including Nobel Science and Engineering, Hayden, Architecture, Music and Law Library.

The other campuses, Polytechnic, West and Downtown also have library locations.

Every library has subject librarians to help students successfully find information.

Each library has the traditional book stacks to find information but there are also library guides found online that offer thousands of articles and journals available for students to use.

The university spends a lot of money for access to library guides. Subject Librarians are there to help students get their money’s worth and get the most out of the resources available.

Audio Books

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My mom calls it cheating that I do most of my reading through listening. For a lot of my English literature classes most of our required text books are novels. I always buy a hard copy but then I ask for itunes cards to buy the audio book version as well.

But these audio books can get expensive which is why I was so excited to find that libraries also offer audio books and they are all free to check out.

My favorite way to check out an audio book is online. No transportation required all you need is a library card. Greater Phoenix Digital Library offers audio books and ebooks to read on your tablet.

Getting started can be a little challenging because the digital library is relatively new but Tempe library offers technical support if there are any problems or questions.

Children’s books, non fiction, classics, young adult, business and biography all come in audio book form. My mom and I did a lot of driving from California to Arizona. Six hours was a long time to keep myself occupied so we listened to audio books.

We have listened to every Harry Potter audio book at least four times. We were listening to the Harry Potter series back when audio books were available for check out in cassette form.

Libraries Celebrate Banned Books Week

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From ALA's website
From ALA’s website

Phoenix libraries celebrated banned books week Sept. 22-28, sharing their favorite challenged books and informing the public about censorship in libraries and schools.

Most of the celebrations were done through social media mainly on facebook. Mesa’s Public Library facebook page featured instagramed mug shots of people holding their favorite challenged book.

Banned Books Week page on facebook shared an article from Cincinnati.com about author Toni Morrison speaking out about remarks from the president to the Ohio School Board who called The Bluest Eye pornographic.

Morrison is a Nobel Prize and Pulitzer Prize winning American novelist whose novels consistently frequent the top 100 list of banned books.

According to American Library Association, Banned Books Week celebrates the freedom to read. “It is an annual event that highlights the value of free and open access to information.”

Challenges due to sexually explicit material, offensive language, violence and homosexuality are reported to the Office for Intellectual Freedom.

According to ALA’s website the most challenged book in 2012 was the Captain Underpants series for offensive language and being unsuited for age group.

Captain Underpants is a children’s novel series about two fourth graders who accidentally turn their favorite comic book superhero, Captain Underpants into a real person.

Books have always been challenged as they should always be. Books are what teach people to think and challenge everything but Banned Books Week is meant to ensure access for all and encourage libraries and schools to advocate for freedom of speech and freedom to read.

Mesa Public Library shared a quote on their facebook page from George R.R. Martin: “When you tear out a man’s tongue, you are not proving him a liar, you’re only telling the world that you fear what he might say.”