Thursday, March 15, 2007

Librarians served with National Security Letters to speak at UVM

The two "John Doe" librarians who were served with national security letters as part of a USA Patriot Act investigation last year will talk about their experience at UVM in Burlington, on Tuesday, March 20, at 3:30 PM. Gagged by the Government: Two Connecticut Librarians Tell How They Resisted the USA Patriot Act, comes at the appropriate time now that so much is being disclosed about the field offices' mishandling of these post 9/11 intrusive instruments. According to the DOJ Office of Inspector General, the FBI requested information without proper authorization and collected broader records than the law allows. The report also showed the agency underreported national security letter requests by over 20 percent. To read the full report, click here

Below is a brief description of the talk in Burlington, which is part of VLA's John Swan Intellectual Freedom Lecture:

In the summer of 2005 a Connecticut library consortium called Library Connection received an FBI National Security Letter demanding information. The board refused to comply, and the case went to court. George Christian and Peter Chase will tell their fascinating story about resisting the PATRIOT Act and living under a gag order for eight months.

And while you are interested in civil liberties check out the new reference source at Brooks Memorial Library, Encyclopedia of American civil liberties / Title (2006). From the catalog entry:
This major encyclopedia in American history and law is the first devoted to issues of civil liberties and the meaning of freedom in American life. It covers the traditional civil liberties: freedom of speech, press, religion, assembly, and petition. In addition, it also covers concerns such as privacy, the rights of the accused, and national security.

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Monday, March 12, 2007

Programs @ Your Library

This Thursday begins several weeks of really interesting programs at Brooks. On March 15, 7:30 p.m., with cosponsorship with the Windham World Affairs Council of Vermont, Dr. Karen Hein,Dr. Professor of Epidemiology & Population Health and (Clinical) Pediatrics, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, will speak on Just call us children: The impact of armed conflict, HIV/AIDS and tsunamis on children and youth. Dr. Hein is Immediate Past President of the William T. Grant Foundation (1998-2003) and was the Executive Officer of the Institute of Medicine (National Academy of Sciences) from December 30, 1994 to June 30, 1998. She is Professor of Epidemiology and Population Health and (Clinical) Pediatrics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York She currently serves on 10 non-profit boards as part of her humanitarian work, focusing on Asia and Africa. In 2004-06, she participated in post-tsunami relief work in India designing health assessments in Child Centered Spaces, visited and evaluated projects in East & Central Africa (Uganda, Ethiopia, Rwanda), Southern Africa (Malawi, Mozambique), and Burmese & African refugee camps in ’06.

Karen is also wife of Dr. Ralph Dell, a board member of the Windham World Affairs Council of Vermont.

I will post next week's events later this week.

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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Censorship in Libraries, 2006

Here we go again. As if it isn't difficult enough getting the funds to purchase books for our shelves, the censors want to take them away. The ALA Office of Intellectual Freedom, the library profession's watchdog on challenges to books, has released the ten most challenged titles of 2006. According to the March 6 press release, the book, And Tango Makes Three, about two male penguins parenting an egg from a mixed-sex penguin couple, tops the list of most challenged books in 2006 by parents and administrators, due to the issues of homosexuality. The list also includes two books by Tony Morrison, Beloved and The Bluest Eye. The ALA/OIF recorded 546 formal challenges this year. Several classics--J.D Salinger's Catcher in the Rye; Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men; and Twain's The Tales of Huckleberry Finn, dropped off the list this year. To see what the other titles are go to the ALA/OIF Challenged Books web site.

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