Here’s the link for more information about the PS244 fundraising campaign.
Here’s the link to the GIVE IT ALL TO ME Library Collection at OutofPrintClothing.com.
Check it out! The good folks dropped me a line about this project last week, and I’m happy to boost for Library Week.
- 3 days ago
- 1 month ago
Because of all the attention of this morning’s library post, I thought it’d only be fair to post the NYPL’s response. I’m quoting four points that they’ve asked me to clarify:
*The man says “I work at this Library.” Ends up, he doesn’t “work” for the library in the sense of being an employee. He is probably doing his work at the library (millions do each year!). We fear the confusion might make people think he is offering his opinion as an employee.
*The vast majority of research books will remain on the site (in far superior storage conditions)
*None of the public spaces he and others enjoy will change, and we’ll be returning a circulating collection to this main library (it had one for its first 70 years).
*This plan will be greatly expanding access to the library. The renovation will allow all New Yorkers–scholars, students, educators, immigrants, job-seekers– to take advantage of this beautiful building and its world-class collections.
Obviously the issue is more complex than soundbites from either side, so feel free to educate yourself further and form your own opinion:
- 1 month ago
Just a friendly reminder that the official sequel to The Hundred and One Dalmatians, also written by Dodie Smith, involved aliens, flying dogs, telepathy and some level of saving the world.
It was a very different book to the first.
I’ve never read it but it sounds suspiciously in the same direction as the sequel to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Great Glass Elevator)
(via wearethemakersofmanners)Source: randombrethren
- 2 months ago
- 2 months ago
Filling in the Holes: The potential queerness of Stanley Yelnats (and Zero.)
A long post with many Holes spoilers ahead.
Lately, I’ve been reading the book Holes with some of my students. This of course means I’ve been thinking about it a lot, and one thought that has wiggled into my mind and refused to leave is this idea of “what is Stanely and Zero are queer?” Or, if nothing else, function as a metaphor for queer kids and their first relationships? (note: I am using queer here as an umbrella term for anything non cis-heteronormative. This could imply them as gay, bi, pan, ace with a same-gender attraction, trans, or any other number of queer identities) Also note: I am only using the book Holes for this reading, not the movie, author’s comments, or follow up works.
Holes is a book built around the idea of inference. Much of the underlying meaning of the book is in the subtext, inferences, not directly stated. The finale chapter even tells the read that we have to “fill in the holes” ourselves to answer any lingering questions. Well, get your shovels ready my friends! We have a hole to fill.
There are three levels of this queer reading that, together, make the case for me. There is the textual relationship of Stanley and Zero, their place within the parallels to other sets of characters, and finally the Hole metaphor itself. Bear with me to then end.
1. Stanely and Zero within the text.
The central relationship of Holes is the fire-forged bond between Stanley Yelnats and Hector Zeroni, known as Zero. They become friends, look out for each other, save each other’s lives. Stanley teaches Zero how to read, risks his life to save his, even carries him up a mountain, and eventually brings Zero home with him.
Within Holes, neither Stanley or Zero are ever mentioned having an interest in girls. In fact, the only mention of girlfriends, is from X-ray, suggesting that Stanley is writing to a girlfriend so the others won’t bother him about writing to his mom. Their strongest bond is to each other.
Now, textually, all of this reads as pure platonic friendship (albeit a very strong one.) This may have even been the intention of the author while writing it. But there are some very…interesting moments that can be seen as framing this friendship as something even deeper. Notably, while on Big Thumb, Stanley watches Zero sleep for hours. At one point, he is mesmerized by the way a flower petal dances across Zero’s face as he breathes. There’s nearly two paragraphs of Stanley just watching that flower petal and being disappointed when it finally falls on the ground. That’s some friendship you got there, Stanley.
But this, in itself, is more fanfic fodder than queer reading. However, there is more.
2. The Kate and Sam parallel.
There are two sets of characters that Stanley and Zero clearly parallel in the books, with two curses that must be broken that accompany them. (Both of these pairs are male-female pairs as well)
The first and most obvious is Elya and Madame Zeroni, Stanley and Zero’s respective ancestors. Elya was cursed when he failed to carry Madame Zeroni up a mountain and let her drink from the water there. Stanley breaks this family curse by carrying Zero up Big Thumb and saving his life with the water that is there.
The SECOND parallel is far more interesting, and that is with Kate and Sam. Kate and Sam are the whirlwind tragic romance of the book. The white school teacher and the black illiterate onion picker who fall in love. The Green Lake is cursed when Sam is killed by the town and thus, Sam and Kate are ripped apart.
There are clear parallels with Sam and Zero. Both black, both illiterate, both incredibly smart (Sam is a brilliant salesman and can memorize poetry just by hearing it once, while Zero is a math genius.)
Now, SAM is run out of town after his relationship with Kate is discovered. He flees across the lake and is killed, thus cursing the Lake for a hundred years. Not a drop of rain falls on the lake and it shrivels up.
ZERO is run out of town after his relationship with Stanley comes to light. The other boys know that Stanley has been teaching Zero to read and Zero has been digging his Holes. Like the sheriff sits back and allows Sam to be killed, the counselors at the Camp sit back and let Zero run out across the lake to die.
Except, he does not die. While Kate could not save Sam, STANLEY can save Zero. He takes off after him, and eventually works to get Zero to go home with him. Once Stanley and Zero are taken home together, it begins to rain on the lake. The curse is lifted.
The lake is cursed because Sam and Kate were ripped apart. The curse on the lake is lifted when Stanley and Zero are allowed to stay together. Romantic parallels, yes?
But we have one more point to cover.
3. The holes-closetmetaphor.
Here is what I propose: digging the holes themselves is a metaphor for staying in the closet.
Being in the closet, I should start by saying, is not a state of being. It is a process. It is a constant effort, censoring yourself, watching yourself, walking on eggshells. Digging the holes within the book functions as a metaphor for this.
Every single day, Stanley and Zero dig holes. It is hard work, tiring work, dangerous in its own right. On top of that, they are constantly monitored, like those in the closet always feel eyes on them to stay hidden. The grueling, dangerous work of digging is like the dangerous work of staying in the closet. Every day, they dig the same hole, the same depth, the same with, trying to stay within the same, acceptable mold. And why do it? Because the alternative- coming out, or leaving the camp, is seen as both isolating and even MORE dangerous.
But eventually, Zero DOES leave. Tired of digging, he risks the desert.
And Stanley follows him. Like a queer kid following their first partner out of the closet, Stanley risks the desert for Zero. It nearly kills them both, like coming out can be deadly for some.
But you know what happens? Because of that risk, they both eventually end up FREE and TOGETHER by relying on each other and the strength of their relationship.
So what does all this mean?
It will be easy for many to look at this analysis and simply write it off, to attack it, that I’m trying too hard, to say terrible and homophobic things about it. And I expect that. I’m not saying that this reading was intentional by the author, but I am saying that it exists regardless.
Between the actual depth of relationship between Stanley and Zero, their clear parallel to Sam and Kate, and the poignancy of the holes-closet metaphor, I think it is WELL within reason for us to view their story as a queer story if we want to. And I do.
this is actually super interesting
(via lopsidedown)Source: fandomsandfeminism
- 2 months ago
"It’s hard for me to even remember the last time I was in a library.
[I]t’s impossible to see a world where we keep libraries open simply to pretend they still serve a purpose for which they no longer serve."
Well, white dude with I’m guessing considerable stock in Google, is the library just there for your needs or purposes?
Maybe you enjoyed your exercise in wordplay and making points already made. But what was your point again? Books make libraries so without books libraries aren’t libraries? Books look different so libraries can’t be libraries? Libraries look different so libraries can’t be libraries? You don’t need libraries for books so we don’t need libraries? I’m sorry, what?
Oh but wait, we’re pretending? Pretending what? Pretending there’s an access divide? Pretending there’s a digital divide? Pretending information illiteracy? Pretending folks lack job skills? Pretending college students need help with citation (BAHA HAHAHAHAHHA)? Did I get a Masters in Pretending? I MEAN I DO HAVE A GREAT IMAGINATION SO I PROBS GOT STRAIGHT A’S. OR P’S FOR PRETENDING. I’m sorry, what?
Also read this from BeerBrarian - The End of “The End of Libraries”
On Sunday, October 14th, yet another “End of Libraries” piece appeared. Per usual, it was written by a white male with no use for libraries, because every single time this trope appears, that’s part of the author’s demographic background. Beyond that, it’s a crucial part of the author’s background. It is overwhelmingly affluent white men who argue that because they do not use something, it has no value for anyone. Libraries. The Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program. Affordable health care. It’s the same argument.
"The internet has replaced the importance of libraries as a repository for knowledge." Ah, yes, because you can trust everything you read on the internet.
Republicans play this game all the time. “I don’t need it, therefore it’s not important and we should get rid of it.” I can vividly remember the last time I was in a library. It was three weeks ago. I needed to do research and the material I needed was not online. Not every book is completely indexed in Google Books. And yes, an ebook is cheaper and faster than buying a physical copy of a book - but it’s harder to skim through an ebook quickly, and the physical copy at the library costs you nothing (up front; tax dollars etc etc).
Like I said, I was at the library three weeks ago. It was around 4 pm on a Tuesday. And you know what? It was CROWDED. There was a packed sign-up sheet for the computers. Kids and parents abounded in the children’s section. Older people and teenagers read at the tables in the main area. I had to wait in line to check out my book.
Before that, I had spent a lot of quality time on my library’s website. I like to read both physical books and ebooks. My library does Kindle loans. OK, their website is a crappy government website, and it can be a little difficult to navigate, but it’s doable. I read books I probably couldn’t or wouldn’t pay full price for, AKA a big part of the purpose of a library.
Libraries are not useless in the digital age, and even more importantly, they aren’t all empty. Just because YOU, PERSONALLY do not need or use something doesn’t make it a charming but impractical relic of a long-forgotten age.
I work in a library. Here are some of the reasons people come to the library:
They want directions.
They want to collect food/garden/dog waste bags, all handed out free at libraries.
They want to print/photocopy/scan.
They want to access the internet, either on our computers or on their own, via the free wi-fi.
Often this is because they have to apply for benefits, housing or jobs through the official system which is only available online. If they haven’t internet at home, the library offers free internet access. Where else does that? Sometimes they aren’t computer literate, so they appreciate an environment where they can ask for help.
Maybe they’ll attend one of our free IT classes, ranging from the absolute basics to subjects such as Facebook, Office software, job hunting and how to use the Council’s Homesearch website. If they want something specific, such as how to use their own laptop or how to shop online, we can set up a one-to-one appointment, also for free.
Our study spaces are very popular. Often they are all taken by ten past nine, after we open at nine. The number of people who have asked me how much it costs and looked surprised when I explained that using the library space is free and doesn’t require you to be a member surprises me.
They want to read the newspapers or magazines the library buys (recently expanded with the launch of an emagazine service—I get to read SFX for free now, which is cool).
They’re researching their family tree and want to take advantage of the library’s subscription to Ancestry.
They want to consult the planning documents for a local development or the register of local voters.
They want to participate in a council consultation.
They may have come to seek advice from an agency that operates a drop-in session at the library, such as the Citizens’ Advice Bureau or the police.
They may be attending an event, either run by the library (an author talk, a book group, baby Rhymetime) or by an outside company who have rented the meeting rooms (theatre productions, ESOL classes, yoga). The library itself has regular events for babies, children, teenagers, adults, adults with mental health difficulties, adults learning English…
We have regular class visits from the local schools. We read them a story and they all choose a book. Sometimes we go to them. It was actually really lovely to see how many children came into the library, talking excitedly about the Summer Reading Challenge we came and told them in Assembly.
Children still look for books when they’re doing their homework, you know. Children who weren’t born at the time of the Millennium and have grown up with the internet.
People actually still read books. Over thirty thousand items were issued in my library last month, and while we certainly have DVDs, Blu-Rays, CDs, Talking Books, Language Courses, all those added together can’t be more than a couple of thousand.
Free books. I’m sorry, I am never over how wondrous that is. Thousands of books, free to borrow and read. (And for those incapable of making the journey to the library, we have a Housebound service.)
For all these reasons, we are really busy. Dozens of people join every day. Hundreds of people walk through the doors every day. Of course, there are people who don’t make use of libraries, who don’t need them. But really, someone who can’t remember the last time they went to the library can have no idea of the role they play.
Libraries are not irrelevant. Libraries are not cultural artifacts. Libraries are living and changing, a resource and a social space, free at the point of access, engaging the community, offering a wide range of services, accessible to all. And what other institution can you say that about? Libraries are important.
People go to the library for books. People go to the library for e-books. People go to the library for technology. People go to the library for human contact. People go to the library for educational and free programming for their children. People go to the library for fun. So learn your shit before opening your mouth. Maybe a librarian can point you in the way of the basics. (via inautumn-inkashmir)
Libraries for me mean a free climate controlled space, knitting patterns, and recipes. Also mine rents out DVDs and has a good sized selection of graphic novels, which really helps us keep our entertainment budget manageable. I only wish I lived within walking distance of mine, the library may be free but the bus sure isn’t.
Yeeeep. Libraries are still needed. I’m fortunate to live within walking distance of mine. I utilize it weekly. Last time I was there was Friday. I’d go there more often if the librarians weren’t horrible people. As it is, I do use the hold service on books I want and they travel from the one in Roseburg to my local one and I pick up the books and am gone. I think the library is the one place I go to the most out of everywhere.
And like, what about the fucking reference section? A library is basically the ONLY place you will find some of those books, unless you’re asble to afford to shell out 1000 dollars for a text. And a lot of information is ONLY in those books, or ONLY in books that exist only in physcal format, and are expensive/out of print. But there’s no way anybody could possibly want that information. RIght?
Like, the Dewey Decimal system books are still in copyright, so you only get the base information for it online, and thew books themselves are expensive as FUCK. The library was the only place I could ever find them.
giddygirlgumption and I took our kids to the library literally 3 hours ago. And it was the second time we’d been in three days. My daughters have been going to this library since they were 9 months old and newborn respectively. They attended storytime, they’ve poured through the children’s section. In fact, there’s a little teddy bear that stands about 2 1/2 feet tall that is post upright with welcoming arms when you get to the children’s floor (the entire basement). My daughters have been attending this library since they were shorter than this bear and they now tower over it. In fact, the older girl volunteered there this summer.
We’ve checked out music, dvds, books galore, done research and they’ve both learned the Scratch programming language in classes there. The library is part of our life, part of our normal. And we’re not alone when we go there.
Even if you think you can replace every single function of a library with something else, you shouldn’t. Why? Because a library is a place you can go, as an individual human being, and interact with other individual human beings, without feeling pressured to buy one single thing or spend one single cent (unless you have an overdue fine. Then you should really pay your fine). We have a rapidly dwindling number of those around.
- 3 months ago