Friday, September 28, 2012

Celebrate the Power of Literature and Read a Banned Book

Banned Books Week is Sept. 30 – Oct. 6

The Freedom to Read means that you are free to read whatever you like. Taking away someone else's freedom by trying to ban a book makes no sense. If you object, don't read it, but don't take away something that someone else may need or enjoy. We are the most diverse nation on earth, and as such we should respect each other and our differences. Saying someone can't read a book because you object to the content is like saying someone else can't have a slice of cake because you're on a diet.

Did you know that one of the most banned children's books is In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak? It's because Max is nude. The Harry Potter series comes under attack all the time because not everyone supports the idea of witches and wizards, even if they are fictional. There are lists of banned picture books and I just don't understand it. Where's Waldo??? Really?

It amazes me that we have to have a 30th anniversary for Banned Books Week. As someone who believes in intellectual freedom, I'm sad to say that it seems like things are getting worse. We have television personalities who wish to ban items because it doesn't fit their societal viewpoint, and they get their viewers, many of whom would ignore the school/library/bookstore under any other circumstances, to issue challenges. How can someone even begin to challenge something they haven't even read?

We are Americans. We fight for freedom, for justice and for truth. Don't deny anyone their freedom just because you don't agree with their choice of reading material. That is unAmerican!

- Adele

Bill Moyers on banning books:

The following press release is from the American Library Association. I think it's important that people see what is being challenged each year:

CHICAGO - What would you do if you went to the library to check out a book, only to find it wasn’t there? Not because it was already checked out, but because someone else didn’t agree with its content and had it removed. According to the American Library Association’s (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF), there were 326 reported attempts to remove materials from libraries in 2011, making this situation all too familiar in some communities across the U.S.

From Sept.30 – Oct. 6, libraries, schools and bookstores from coast to coast will battle censorship and celebrate the freedom to read during Banned Books Week, an annual event highlighting the importance of the First Amendment. Thousands will read from banned or challenged books, speak out and learn about censorship as the nation celebrates the right to choose reading materials without restriction.

During Banned Books Week, we hope to remind Americans that the ability to read, speak, think and express ourselves freely is a right, not a privilege,” said Maureen Sullivan, ALA President. “As we celebrate the 30th anniversary of Banned Books Week, it’s important to recognize that book banning does exist in this day and age. It’s up to all of us, community residents, librarians, teachers and journalists, to continue to stand up and speak out for the right to read.”

In one case, the Plymouth-Canton school district in Michigan considered banning both Toni Morrison’s Beloved and Graham Swift’s Waterland after complaints from some parents of objectionable content. Both books were eventually allowed to stay on school shelves after a review committee heard from teachers, students and parents in support of the books during public meetings. But, unfortunately, even with the help of outspoken supporters, books are still being removed.
In Illinois, the Erie School Board recently upheld its 2010 decision to ban The Family Book by Todd Parr and its accompanying materials from an elementary school over its LGBT theme. The book was introduced as part of the Ready, Set, Respect! lesson plan endorsed by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) as part of a diversity and tolerance unit in the school. And in the Annville-Cleona School District in Pennsylvania, the award-winning children’s book The Dirty Cowboy, written by Amy Timberlake and illustrated by Adam Rex, was removed from elementary schools because of its illustrative content involving a cartoon cowboy taking his annual bath.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of Banned Books Week and thousands will celebrate by participating in special events and exhibits to learn about the power of literature and the harms of censorship. To commemorate this milestone anniversary, the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom is coordinating the “50 State Salute to Banned Books Week,” featuring  videos from each state proclaiming the importance of the freedom to read.  And for the second year in a row, the ALA along with the co-sponsors of Banned Books Week, will host a Virtual Read Out on YouTube where participants will be able to proclaim the virtues of their favorite banned books to the world. Past participants have included highly acclaimed and/or frequently challenged authors such as Jay Asher, Judy Blume, Chris Crutcher, Whoopi Goldberg, Lauren Myracle and many more.

Restricting student access to books in schools is nothing new, but in the age of the Internet, legitimate, educational websites and academically useful social networking tools in schools and school libraries are being overly restricted and filtered more than ever. In an effort to raise awareness, the ALA’s American Association of School Libraries (AASL), has designated one day during Banned Books Week as Banned Websites Awareness Day – Wednesday, Oct. 3– and is asking school librarians and other educators to promote an awareness of how overly restrictive filtering affects student learning.

Also, many bookstores, schools and libraries celebrating Banned Books Week will showcase selections from the ALA OIF’s Top Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2011. The list is released each spring and provides a snapshot of book removal attempts in the U.S. The Top Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2011 reflects a range of themes and consists of the following titles:

1)      ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle
Offensive language; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
2)      The Color of Earth (series), by Kim Dong Hwa
Nudity; sex education; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
3)      The Hunger Games (series), by Suzanne Collins
Anti-ethnic; anti-family; insensitivity; offensive language; occult/satanic; violence
4)     My Mom’s Having A Baby! A Kid’s Month-by-Month Guide to Pregnancy, by Dori Hillestad Butler
Nudity; sex education; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
5)      The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
Offensive language; racism; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
6)      Alice (series), by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Nudity; offensive language; religious viewpoint
7)      Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
Insensitivity; nudity; racism; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit
8)      What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones
Nudity; offensive language; sexually explicit
9)      Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily Von Ziegesar
Drugs; offensive language; sexually explicit
10)  To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
Offensive language; racism

Banned Books Week is sponsored by the American Booksellers Association; American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression; the American Library Association; American Society of Journalists and Authors; Association of American Publishers; and the National Association of College Stores.  It is endorsed by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. In 2011, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, the Freedom to Read Foundation, National Coalition Against Censorship, National Council of Teachers of English, and PEN American Center also signed on as sponsors.

For more information on Banned Books Week, book challenges and censorship, please visit the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom’s Banned Books website at, or

Thursday, September 20, 2012

New Online Newsletter

We've been looking for ways to get our information out to you, our readers. We've decided to start publishing a newsletter.

With an online newsletter, we don't have to worry about printing or mailing costs, and we can use software we own. No start-up costs, no hassle!

Our first effort, for the Fall of 2012, is available now. We will link the newsletter on our website and on our facebook page.  Take a look and let us know what you think:

The Caldwell Public Library Fall 2012 Newsletter

Monday, September 17, 2012

Fall Events for Adults at the Caldwell Public Library

Now that school is back in session, it's time to turn our attention to our Fall programming. We hope you'll come out and enjoy these great events!

From September through December, the Library will display the works of Gene Collerd, whose Then and Now and Fire Department photos give us a glimpse into mid-20th Century Caldwell. These photo displays will be available for public viewing during normal library hours.

Feel Good Friday: Positive Thinking for Healthy Aging
Friday, September 21, 10:30 AM
Presented by Nancy Herron, LCSW

Coach Mike Tully Presents: Thank God You're Lazy: The Instant Cure for What's Holding You Back.
Wednesday, October 3, 6:30 PM
Learn the mental skills of a winner from motivational speaker and author Mike Tully. Coach Tully has studied peak performance for three decades, first as an international sports writer then as a championship coach. He covered Olympic Games in Lake Placid, Los Angeles, Sarajevo and Seoul, as well as more than 100 consecutive World Series games. Tully has identified those specific traits that make someone a success on the playing field and will share with you how they can be applied in business, school athletic departments and everyday situations. Author of The Improvement Factor: How Winners Turn Practice into Success, Mike Tully will discuss his newest book Thank God You’re Lazy: The Instant Cure for What’s Holding You Back. Register for this free program by calling the Library at 973-226-2837.

Brown Bag Book Group
Tuesday, October, 9, 6:00 PM
Join facilitator Deborah Abrams for our new book club. Meetings will be held on the second Tuesday of each month. This will be the inaugural meeting, so join in and help shape this group with your suggestions on what to read. Register for this free program by calling the Library at 973-226-2837.

Pizza and a Movie: Dark Shadows
Wednesday, October 10, 6:00 PM
Enjoy the spirit of Halloween and join us for a showing of the new version of the camp classic soap opera Dark Shadows. Come in a mask or costume and be entered into a drawing for a door prize. Registration for this free program is required. Call 973-226-2837.

Caldwell College's Lifelong Learning Series: Knitting Class

Mondays: October 15, 22, 29 & November 5, 10:00 AM

The Lifelong Learning Institute at Caldwell College will be holding Knitting Classes at the Caldwell Public Library on 4 Mondays this Fall. Participants must register by calling the Lifelong Learning Institute at 973-618-3543.

Caldwell College's Poetry Service Learning Project
Under the guidance of Dr. Mary Ann Miller, Associate Professor, three students from the Intro To Poetry Class will present their original compositions:
Lauren Schmidt, October 18, 6:30 PM
Madeline Tiger, Nov. 1, 6:30 PM
George White, Nov. 8, 6:30 PM

Understanding the Transition from Early Intervention to Preschool Special Education
Presented by Michelle Puzio of Family Link NJ
Tuesday, October 23, 10:00 AM

This free workshop for families will focus on understanding the transition process from Early Intervention to Preschool, and will offer comparisons of the two. We'll discuss components of the IDEA law, provide transition materials and resources, and give guidance on parental rights. If you wish to attend you must register with Family Link at 908-964-5303 or email

The Olmsted Historic Landscape Legacy in New Jersey
Presented by Kathleen Galop, Historic Preservation Consultant, NJ Council on the Humanities
Wednesday, November 28, 6:30 PM

As early as 1867, Frederick Law Olmsted came to Newark, NJ to select a site for Branch Brook Park, America’s First County Park. Through this lecture you will become more familiar with the Olmsted philosophy of landscape design and the legacy as it exists today throughout New Jersey. Landscapes designed by Olmsted and the Olmsted Brothers Firm include: Cadwalader Park, the Lawrenceville School, the campus of Fairleigh Dickinson University, and our own Grover Cleveland Park. A slide presentation will accompany the lecture. This event is free and open to the public.
This program is funded by the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, a state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

For more information about any of these programs, please visit the Caldwell Library or call 973-226-2837. We hope to see you there!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Welcome to September!

Welcome, September! It's that time of year when the kids head back to school, the weather turns crisp and clear, and our thoughts turn away from Summer Reading.

We had a very successful Summer Reading Program thanks to the wonderful efforts of Mrs. Deborah Khost, who put together a slate of great activities for children, and Mrs. Fran Larkey, who spearheaded all the adult programming. Our first ever Summer Concert Series was a delight.

We kick off September with a Library Card Sign-Up Month. Come in during September to get a new card and you'll be ready for the rest of the school year! What can you do with your card? We all know you can borrow books, but you can also borrow DVDs, audio books, and e-books. You can use your card throughout most of New Jersey thanks to reciprocal borrowing, and you can order books to be sent here for you via Interlibrary Loan. Your card gives you access to our public computers so that you can keep in touch with friends and family, search for a job, do some online research and obtain a voter registration application. Come in and get your card today!

National Hispanic Heritage Month September 15 - October 15

Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on September 15 and ending on October 15. It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988, on the approval of Public Law 100-402.

The day of September 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September18, respectively. Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, which is October 12, falls within this 30 day period.

Come in and Celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month with a good book!

Dominican turned New Jerseyan author Junot Díaz will be out with a new work this month entitled This is How You Lose Her, a collection of short stories that examine the “haunting, impossible power of love” from the Dominican Republic to New Jersey and Boston. In a Booklist starred review, Díaz’s writing is described as “fast paced, unflinching, complexly funny, street-talking tough, perfectly made, and deeply sensitive.” Díaz’s first book, The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, is a very popular book club selection and won many awards, including the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Pulitzer Prize.

For more information about the history of Hispanic Heritage Month, visit: