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Banned Books Week 2017!

Pictured is a reader, mostly hidden behind their large book, but with one fist extended defiantly over the book. Text surrounding the reader includes “Words have power. Read a banned book.” Image from the American Library Association.

Each year, for the last week of September, libraries across the country come together to support Banned Books Week.

Banned Books Week celebrates the freedom to read and opposes censorship and the suppression of ideas and voices.

Our new exhibit in the Stone Center Library displays books that have been banned or challenged over the years. A challenge is an attempt to remove a book based on a person or group’s objections; a banning is when the book is actually removed from a curriculum or library.

Though books are very rarely challenged or banned explicitly for racial reasons, it is often an underlying factor. The American Library Association noted in 2015 that 9 of the top 10 banned and challenged books contained diverse content – non-white, LGBTQ, or disabled characters, or books that address issues of race, sexuality, religion, and mental illness. In our exhibit, we highlight banned and challenged books that were written by Black authors or that deal with issues of race and racism.

Some of the books highlighted in our exhibit – and available for checkout in the Stone Center Library! – include:

  • Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, which has been challenged eighteen times since its publication, for reasons including “rough language” and “explicit sex scenes.”
  • Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison, challenged in five different states for explicit language. Complaints referred to the book as “filth,” “trash,” and “repulsive.”
  • Zora Neale Hurston’s novel Their Eyes Were Watching God has been repeatedly challenged for “sexual explicitness” and its use of profanity.
  • Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison, has been challenged multiple times over “concerns about profanity and images of violence and sexuality in the book.”
  • Richard Wright’s Native Son, challenged for its “violence, sex, and profanity.”
  • The Autobiography of Malcolm X, which has been called a “how-to manual for crime.” Challengers also alleged that the book should be banned because the author and subject “advocated anti-white racism and violence.”

Also available at other UNC libraries:

  • Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. The book has been challenged thirty-five times in twenty different states since its publication. Complains have alleged that the book is “sexually explicit,” “anti-white,” and “encouraging homosexuality.”

For more information about Banned Books Week, check out the links below!

  • http://www.ala.org/advocacy/bbooks
  • http://www.bannedbooksweek.org/

#OscarsSlightlyLessWhite: the 2017 Academy Awards

Promotional image for the 89th Academy Awards, featuring the phrase “Oscar 2017” and an image of a golden Academy Award Statue.

It’s no secret that the Academy Awards have historically been less than diverse. Last year, frustrations overflowed after all 20 of the nominees for Best Acting awards were white for the second year in a row. Widespread dissatisfaction with this state of affairs manifested online in the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite, coined by activist April Reign.

In response to this criticism, Reign led the Academy in taking some steps to diversify itself. In 2016, the Academy invited 683 new members to its highly secretive roster of approximately 6,000. Of this new class, nearly half were women and people of color: 46% women and 41% POC. (Compare that to the previous year’s class, which was 25% women and 8% POC.) While the Academy remains disproportionately white and male, it has committed to doubling the number of women and minorities in its roster by 2020.

Shockingly, it would almost seem that increasing the number women and people of color in the Academy leads to having more women and people of color nominated in the Academy Awards! Although there is a long way to go before parity is achieved, this year’s Oscars are some of the most diverse yet, and have marked a historic level of achievement for Black performers, directors, writers, and filmmakers. Some of the history-making nominations at the 2017 Oscars include:

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MURAP 2017 Informational Meeting

Our neighbors in the Stone Center are having their first informational meeting of 2017!

The Moore Undergraduate Research Apprentice Program (MURAP) invites UNC rising juniors and seniors in the humanities, fine arts, and social sciences to attend an information meeting held on Monday, January 30th, 2017 at 5:30pm in the Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History, Institute of African American Research Suite 305.

MURAP is a ten-week paid summer research internship for students interested in pursuing a PhD. The program will be held from May 21st to July 27th, 2017 at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. MURAP seeks to prepare talented and motivated underrepresented students from racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds, or those with a proven commitment to diversity and to eradicating racial disparities in graduate school and the academy, for graduate study in fields in the humanities, social sciences, and fine arts (For the fields supported by MURAP, please see our website identified below). The program provides students with a rigorous research experience under the guidance of a UNC faculty mentor.

Each participant will receive:
• Generous stipend
• Campus housing
• Meal allowance
• Writing, Communication Skills and Professional Development workshops
• GRE prep course (and all necessary materials)
• Paid domestic travel expenses to and from Chapel Hill (IF APPLICABLE)

The student application is available online and the application deadline is February 10th, 2017. To request an application, or for additional information about MURAP, please visit our website at http://murap.unc.edu/murap-2016-application/ or contact Ashley Lee, Program Coordinator, at murap@unc.edu.

Libraries in Dakar

In late May, I had the opportunity to accompany UNC-CH African Studies Center Director Emily Burrill, and Associate Director Barbara Anderson, on a trip to Dakar, Senegal. The trip’s objective was to finalize the renewal of UNC’s 5-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Université de Cheikh Anta Diop (UCAD). Jim Herrington, Director of the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health Global Gateway, whose blog post about the trip is well worth reading, was the fourth member of the UNC delegation.

The trip was also an important opportunity to see the work of many libraries/library workers based in Dakar. My first library stop was at the West African Research Center (WARC), a small library that serves a large number of researchers both locally-based, and visiting.

IMG_6737Next, I visited the branch library for the Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy, pictured below. This branch library makes ingenious use of space, shoehorning periodical shelving and study tables into a corridor, and integrating a reference service point with heavily used test preparation materials.

Finally, I visited the main UCAD library, where on the Friday afternoon before Ramadan, there was hardly an empty seat to be found.

UNC students can learn about opportunities to visit/study abroad in Senegal by visiting the UNC Study Abroad site.

Another Open Door

April 10-16, 2016 is National Library Week. This year’s NLW theme is “Libraries Transform”. This theme allows us to catch you up on many of the changes we’ve made/initiatives we’ve undertaken since January 2015, in order to enhance the services we provide to Stone Center Library patrons.

Web badge 468px x 60px: National Library Week, April 10-16, 2015, Libraries Transform

We saved our most dramatic transformation for last. In February, we had a door cut between the workroom and the librarian’s office!

This transformation involved a few noisy, dusty days but our patrons were flexible and understanding, and it was well worth it in the end.

This structural modification effectively makes the librarian’s office, the workroom, and the service desk, a unified service point and allows us to better serve our patrons through improved staff communication.

door6

View from the librarian’s office.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this weeklong peek into what we’ve been up to at the Stone Center Library. We look forward to seeing you soon!

 

 

SCL Reserves

April 10-16, 2016 is National Library Week. This year’s NLW theme is “Libraries Transform”. This theme allows us to catch you up on many of the changes we’ve made/initiatives we’ve undertaken since January 2015, in order to enhance the services we provide to Stone Center Library patrons.

Web badge 468px x 60px: National Library Week, April 10-16, 2015, Libraries Transform

Moving past the service desk into the adjacent work room, we come to the area where the Stone Center Library Reserves are held. Beginning in the spring of 2016, print reserve materials for the African, African American and Diaspora Studies Department (AAAD) are held at the Stone Center Library.

We did a lot of advance preparation before transferring this portion of the University Library print reserves from the House Undergraduate Library to the SCL, and we have made the necessary adjustments to the library space and our workflow in order to accommodate this service enhancement.

reserves

Course instructors for AAAD courses, for courses being held in the Stone Center, or anywhere on campus, can opt to have their print reserve materials held at the SCL.

Course Reserve Request Instructions

 

Two Whiteboards and a Monitor

April 10-16, 2016 is National Library Week. This year’s NLW theme is “Libraries Transform”. This theme allows us to catch you up on many of the changes we’ve made/initiatives we’ve undertaken since January 2015, in order to enhance the services we provide to Stone Center Library patrons.

Web badge 468px x 60px: National Library Week, April 10-16, 2015, Libraries Transform

Today, as we move even further into the SCL space, our post is a midweek double feature. It sounds like the beginning of a bad joke: “two whiteboards and monitor walk into the Stone Center Library…” but that’s a fairly accurate description of our two most recent service enhancements. Adjacent to the 3M gate, and opposite our CCI printer, is our service desk, where we now have a double-monitor, seen in action below.

monitorThe addition of a patron-facing monitor means that we’re better able to help our patrons navigate many of our electronically accessible tools and resources.

white boardsWe have also recently acquired mobile, erasable whiteboards that can be checked out at the SCL service desk. The boards are used by students for collaborative learning and they have also been used during recent events including the African Diaspora Women Artists Wikipedia Edit-a-thon and THATCamp Archiving Your Activism, hosted by the Stone Center Library.

Networked printing in the SCL

April 10-16, 2016 is National Library Week. This year’s NLW theme is “Libraries Transform”. This theme allows us to catch you up on many of the changes we’ve made/initiatives we’ve undertaken since January 2015, in order to enhance the services we provide to Stone Center Library patrons.

Web badge 468px x 60px: National Library Week, April 10-16, 2015, Libraries Transform

Today, we move into the library space, just beyond the 3M gate that counts library visitors, to the CCI printer that was installed in October, 2015. As a result, the SCL is now part of a networked printing system that “allows students, faculty and staff to print to ITS printers from anywhere on campus using their personal computers and a network connection.”

The printer has been very popular indeed. Because of the Stone Center’s strategic location, the printer located in the SCL serves not only students and other university affiliates who use the Stone Center building, but other buildings in the vicinity as well, including the Genome Science building and Coker Hall.

Screenshot (21)CCI printing campus map

 

Stone Center Library exhibits

April 10-16, 2016 is National Library Week. This year’s NLW theme is “Libraries Transform”. This theme allows us to catch you up on many of the changes we’ve made/initiatives we’ve undertaken, since January 2015, in order to enhance the services we provide to Stone Center Library patrons.

Web badge 468px x 60px: National Library Week, April 10-16, 2015, Libraries Transform

We begin our NLW blog series at the entrance to the Library. In the hallway adjacent to the Library, we have used the flat case to promote events being hosted or otherwise supported by the Stone Center Library.

murap_flatcase

Pictured above, our summer 2015 display featured the university logos of the members of the MURAP cohort as well as information about the series of research skills labs being offered by the library for MURAP students throughout the summer.

negrodigest

Just inside entrance to the Library, we have used our small exhibit cases to feature micro collections owned by the Library. Pictured above is our fall 2015 display of Negro Digest and Black World magazines, donated to us by retired UNC anthropology professor Norris Brock Johnson.

20160218_105802

Our current display, pictured above, is about the early history of the Stone Center Library. We hope you’ll stop by to see it before May 15.

Tomorrow’s blog post will feature our most popular service enhancement. Can you guess what it is?

 

The SCL Transforms!

Facebook cover art: Celebrate National Library Week, April 10-16, 2016, Libraries Transform

April 10-16, 2016 is National Library Week. The 2016 NLW theme is ‘Libraries Transform’. We thought we would take this opportunity to tell you about the many ways in which the Stone Center Library has transformed in the last year. Each day next week, progressing from the entrance of the library, through the entire library space, the blog will feature an aspect of our transformation and how it has allowed us to improve our support of teaching and learning at UNC Chapel Hill. Stay tuned!