Bonus Blog! Banned Book Week

In honor of banned book week, I read “Slaughterhouse-Five” by Kurt Vonnegut. I chose this book because it has been on my “to-read” list for years. For as long as I can remember I have heard constant praise for this book, so of course I was very excited to finally read it. Alas, I was disappointed. Perhaps because this was my first experience with Vonnegut and I was unfamiliar with his writing style. For the most part I found this book to be quite strange. I originally expected a tale of post-traumatic stress disorder, and instead I read about time travel, another planet (Tralfamadore) and the strange happenings of Mr. Billy Pilgrim.

There have been many attempts across the United States to ban this book from high schools. To keep it local, in 2007 a high school in Howell, Michigan challenged this book on the basis that by including this book in the curriculum, sexually explicit materials were being made available to minors. However no legal actions were ever taken after the prosecutor made an announcement that “Slaughterhouse-Five” did not solely target minors. Other schools that have tried to ban this book (of which there have been many) most often have Christian parents citing the vulgar language and sexual content as reasons for not wanting their children to read this book in school.

In 2011, during Banned Book week, “Slaughterhouse-Five” was removed from the library and curriculum of a high school in Republic, Missouri. In a unique (and in my opinion, very cool) move, the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library offered a free copy of the book to any student of that high school. Afterwards there was another vote to put the book back on the shelves of the library. However it was a win/lose situation. It was a win in that it got back into the library, however it was a loss due to the fact that it is now kept in a “secure” part of the library and can only be checked out if the student’s parent or guardian comes in to check it out for them. I can’t see parents wanting to take the time to check out a book for their high school aged son/daughter and honestly, I would be very surprised if this book was checked out very often anymore.

After completing “Slaughterhouse-Five”, I can see why so many are quick to label this as inappropriate.  By no means does that mean that this work should be banned from any library. This book is irreverent, sexual and inappropriate, all whilst discussing a firebombing of Dresden, yes, but is it a book that could benefit a high school curriculum? Absolutely. I feel that it would be incredibly beneficial to teach this book in schools because it is a great example of what a satire is. Those that try to ban it, I feel overlook the point that Vonnegut is trying to make, he is not using a voice of authority in this story, but rather telling fictional events from a satirical point of view.

 

Kavner, Lucas. (2011 July 29). Missouri School District Bans ‘Slaughterhouse-Five’ And ‘Twenty Boy Summer’. Retrieved From http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/29/slaughterhouse-five-banned-missouri_n_913078.html.

Shannon. (2011 October 1). Banned Books Week: Update on Slaughterhouse-Five Ban in Missouri plus Link to KVLM Video. Retrieved From http://www.vonnegutlibrary.org/banned-books-week-update-on-slaughterhouse-five-ban-in-missouri-plus-link-to-kvml-video/.

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Personal Goals

My main personal goal after obtaining my MLIS degree is to be gainfully employed. After graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in English, I have not had much (or any) luck securing a job remotely related to what I studied. The idea of earning my MLIS excites me a great deal; to work in a field that I love, surrounded by books and people, is absolutely ideal. On top of that, I’d like to enjoy my job; when my alarm goes off I don’t want to feel any dread (other than the normal amount that comes with waking up early). By earning this degree I feel that this goal is wholly achievable.

I don’t yet have a clear cut idea of what I want my future career to be. As I go through the program, I am confident that I will find my likes and dislikes in my future classes. That will help me to develop a firmer grasp of what I would like my career trajectory to look like. Right now, when I think about my future, I like the idea of working in an academic library and the idea of working in a public library. Eventually I would like to experience both of these settings and dabble in archiving. While working in a public library setting, I would prefer to work in adult services. I am a voracious reader and it sounds absolutely heavenly to me to play a role in choosing what gets added to a collection. Recently I have started volunteering at the Ferndale Public Library, working with the Adult Reference Librarian and I have really enjoyed seeing the daily processes one goes through in that environment. To find a community library and delve right in would be an ideal way for me to begin my career with my MLIS. Eventually I would also like to experience an academic library setting. I think it would be a fascinating experience to work in that environment and to help patrons with the research process. At this point, I’d like to do it all, archiving, public and academic libraries. As my studies go on I hope to hone in on a more specific career path, however for now I like the idea of keeping things open.

As far as certificates go, I know that I want one but I am not yet certain which one I want. Once I get through a few more classes I hope to have a stronger idea of which certificate I wish to pursue. I have narrowed it down so far to the Information Management certificate or the certificate in Archival Administration. The certificate in Archival Administration was my original first choice, I love the idea of helping to preserve items for the future and I would personally love getting to work with old books and documents. However I also like the versatility that comes with the Information Management certificate. I think this certificate would be especially useful in an academic library setting. In summation, I am excited to dive further into learning about librarianship and seeing how the rest of this semester goes.

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Endless Possibilities Start with a Library Card

Essentially a library card is now the equivalent of a magic carpet, a la Disney’s Aladdin. All one needs is an open mind and a library card and they can have access to not only limitless information, but also endless technology and resources. A 3 D printer is something very few people have access to, yet it’s completely revolutionizing what one can do with technology.

With all of the advancements, it’s amazing to see what one can do with a library card (free resources people!). I remember being a child in the library and my card would grant me access to any book I could imagine and if need be a computer or (gasp!) access to a copy machine, which to a little kid with a handful of dimes seemed extraordinary (all I had to do was push a button and I could copy anything!!). Side note, sorry Mom for all of the needless copies of my hand, I realize that those had to have been pretty mundane for you.

What they have accomplished with the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library is nothing short of remarkable, and it’s something that I believe will be somewhat of a template for future libraries. However I find it a little off putting aesthetically speaking….it looks so retail based (since when did people want their environments to emulate an Apple store?). I feel that while the Martin Luther King Jr. Library offers many benefits to its community (many tablets, computers and a 3 D printer) it is very cold and uninviting. Personally, I prefer endless shelves and cozy chairs in my libraries….however I do recognize that the need and demand for technology in libraries now may disagree with that image. It’s wonderful to give such resources to a community, however there is still great value and knowledge that can be found in a book, that’s simply not available on a tablet or nook (rhyme unintended, merely a happy coincidence).

 

Blair, Elizabeth. (2013 September 1). With Modern Makeovers, America’s Libraries are Branching Out. NPR. Retrieved from http://www.npr.org/2013/09/01/217211315/with-modern-makeovers-americas-libraries-are-branching-out

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Welcome

Greetings and Salutations,

Welcome to the blog that will chronicle my times in LIS 6010. My name is Megan. I am 24 years old, originally from Warren, Michigan (and currently residing there). I received my B.A. in English from Michigan State University in May 2010, with specializations in Women’s Studies and Psychology. I enjoy reading…but hey doesn’t everyone in this program? Dystopian Literature is my favorite, particularly Margaret Atwood. I also enjoy binge viewing television shows, some of my favorites include Arrested Development, Sherlock, Call the Midwife, Breaking Bad and currently The X-Files (I realize I’m a little late to the party on that last one).

I have spent the last couple of years working in a bank…because who doesn’t love having health insurance? Recently I decided to return to academics (one might say a better investment) in the form of the LIS program and I couldn’t be more excited. Preserving history, while keeping it accessible for the masses is one of the major draws for me to this program. I am looking forward to earning a certificate in archival administration while I am here. I haven’t decided exactly what I want to do with my LIS degree yet. As of right now, I would either like to work in a University Library or a community library. From this class I hope to hone in on a more specific path of what I’d like to do with my degree.

My main assumption about libraries is that they will always be vital to communities. No matter the economic situation, libraries will always be essential in bettering communities. Simply put, they are integral to people. To have such open access to a great wealth of information is a true value that every community deserves to have.

My other assumption in regards to libraries is that no matter what technological advancements are made, people (i.e. librarians) will always be indispensable to communities. Yes, with the invention of tablets there may be less of a need for some individuals to go to the library as often as they used to. However there will always be a need for people to have access to information, whether it be a new novel or assistance filling out government forms. Librarians will always be essential in helping patrons get to where they need to be by giving them access to the tools they need to arrive there.

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