Banned Books and Censorship: Big Read Event at Webster Public Library

Tonight: Wednesday, May 21 at 7 p.m.

Webster Public Library
980 Ridge Road West
Webster, NY 14580

This evening of lively discussion features three wonderful speakers on the topic of banned books and censorship. This program will be an intriguing look at thought control appropriate for adults and teens.

Red Star: Science Fiction Under Soviet Dictatorship
Censorship usually means destroying books and their writers. But presenting ideologically correct views is as much a part of dictatorial societies as suppressing dissident ones.
David Pascal discusses how Soviet Science Fiction was used to foster and advance the views of one totalitarian state, how some Soviet authors used the form to question and transcend state policies, and why writing produced under Soviet rule has continuing relevance for writers and readers today.

Burning Books and Bodies in the Middle Ages: Peter Abelard and Johannes Trithemius
Sarah Higley is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Rochester, New York. Her primary interests lie in northern medieval literatures with an early emphasis on language, linguistics, and poetic structure. Her later work in fantasy and science fiction led her to explore medieval and modern notions of magic, machinery, monstrosity, and artifice. Her recent publications investigate the early origins of the werewolf, the medieval concept of the “robot,” and manifestations throughout time of “simulacra”– lately, miniatures and constructed languages. This last interest has inspired her book on Hildegard of Bingen’s “Lingua Ignota” (Unknown Language). She is also a published author of fantasy and science fiction and a Teleplay for Star Trek: The Next Generation, and a member of the writing group: “Rochester Speculative Literature.”

Censorship in Communist Romania: An Uncensored View
Gabriel Prajitura will give an insider’s view on the suppression of literature in communist Romania. Dr. Prajitura will bring along a book that was edited by communist censors. He will give a first-hand account of what happens when a work is deemed “unacceptable” by the government, as well as the repercussions of thinking independantly in a land where thought is governed by the Party.

Librarians Using Technology to Make the World a Better Place

Recently, librarians Rosa Diaz from the Lincoln Branch of Rochester Public Library and Marcia Thor from the Maplewood Branch of RPL came up with a fantastic new library service.

They brought video cameras out to Fairport Public Library to record the “Babies Love Books” story time which is a program for newborns through 18 months (and their caregivers.)

Rosa and Marcia will be taking the video into the city schools for a program for teen moms on reading with their babies.

We all know how important it is to read to babies, and these librarians have come up with a fun way to spread the idea to young mothers. How cool is that?

Foreign Fiction to be Discussed this Week

On Tuesday, January 1, 2008 at the Pittsford Barnes & Noble, the R-Spec group features a discussion of foreign fiction. This is admittedly more low-tech than most things I post here, but it should be a very interesting evening.

Join us as Ruhan Zhao, Gabriel Prajitura and David Pascal discuss science fiction in China, Romania, and the former Soviet Union. Nancy Kress will most likely be on hand, too, and we look forward to hearing about her perspective on science fiction in China following the convention she attended last summer.

The meeting is free and open to the public, and begins at 7 pm at Barnes & Noble in Pittsford Plaza.

In 2017 libraries will be…

I can’t help but wonder how much it would cost to have some pads of sticky notes printed up and distributed to county libraries. It would be a great campaign to get the public thinking about libraries and what they hope their library will be in 10 years, and get them to provide feedback in a quick, easy, anonymous way. And posting the notes prominently would encourage people to stop, read, and add their two cents.

How would you complete this statement?


It’s been forever since I’ve blogged. Holidays came and went; I got the kids back to college; I took a week of vacation. Whew! Time flies by.

The website redesign is coming along nicely. I’ve worked out many of the underlying questions I was wrestling with: What is the purpose of the website? Who is my audience and what are their needs? How can I set up a site to minimalize the day-to-day attention it will need from me? How can I make it functional and how can I make it look good, while still answering the prior questions?

These are the topics I’ll address over the next days and weeks as the site comes together and is usability tested and tweaked.

Plenty of other things have come up, too. I’ve been working in Second Life — helping out the library staff there and attending events put on by the Science group. I’ve got some upcoming presentations I’ve been putting together for Rochester Regional Library Council. And I’ve been invited to join the Monroe County Library System’s web team.

My job is very busy these days, and very exciting. Hopefully, my blog posts will not be so infrequent. There’s a lot to talk about and write about. Now I just need to find some time! : )