Everyday in America someone tries to ban a book. The American Library Association reports 326 challenges in 2011. A challenge is more than a person being annoyed with a book, it is a person telling the library they don’t want anyone else to read the book. That is censorship in its most basic form.
And these books are not always the most controversial ones – sometimes they are classics that have been on the shelf for years. Here are the most challenged books of 2011:
Celebrating Banned Books Week is about the freedom to read and that takes us beyond the printed paper. For the internet it means supporting free and open access to information – a fundamental right and need in countries all around the world.
So take a chance this week, read a banned book and support someone else’s right to do so.
Freedom of speech is not a gift from on high. It was not declared by God. It is not holy, or even natural. No other human society ever practiced it. Even we, who are loony enough to consider it sacred, don’t practice it very well. Yet, although it runs against every tyrannical impulse of human nature… impulses to suppress whatever that loudmouth fool over there is saying… the fact is that we try to live by it. Not because free speech is holy, or natural, but because it works. Because it is pragmatic. Because it allows the rapid generation of a multitude of ideas, most of which are chaff, and then allows those notions to be criticized by other egotistical people, so that a fair percentage of the best ideas rise, and most garbage eventually sinks.
Harvard isn’t belt-tightening everywhere. Since 2007, its investment in financial aid to undergraduates has risen by more than 78%, which Harvard said is “significantly outpacing increases in tuition.” Undergraduate tuition for the 2012-13 year climbed 3.5% to $54,496.
As it looks to economize, Harvard has turned some of its attention toward the more than $160 million it spends each year on its nearly 375 year-old library system, which holds 17 million volumes, and includes 73 separate libraries. Widener, the flagship library, alone has 57 miles of shelving.
Harvard is also changing its philosophy on owning books. The goal: Provide access to them rather than collecting each one, which can lead to costs for storage and preservation, a 2009 Harvard task-force report said. The library will extend partnerships to borrow from other libraries, and further digitize its own collection so it can share with others.
The university is finding it “increasingly painful” to manage academic-journal subscriptions, which annually cost it about $3.75 million, Harvard Provost Alan Garber said.
In a move watched throughout academia, Harvard in April urged its faculty members to publish in open-access journals. “Move the prestige to open access,” a memo said.
At this Central Park adventure, kids will hammer, saw wood, make forts, push themselves around in the shallow water on a raft and do all sorts of climbing, jumping and whatever they choose. Kids can raft on a small pond, navigate a rope bridge, use a cable slide, go down a mud slide and more. Bring a spare change of clothing, a plastic bag to put the wet clothes in and close-toed shoes for safety.
Parents will not be allowed to tell the kids, “Don’t get dirty.” Sorry mom or dad. The dirt is what this is about and you must just butt out!
This summer-fun event is held annually. Adventure Playground runs mid-June through mid-August. This experience is suitable for kids six to twelve years old. It is only open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Saturday, closed Sunday. Adult supervision is provided and a small fee is charged. For information and group reservations, phone (714) 842-7442.
Location: Huntington Central Park, 7111 Talbert Avenue , Huntington Beach, California.
A google user: “I loved going here when I was younger. Tons of fun!! The rafts and the mudslide were cool and the tree house building area was my favorite! I recommend it.”
If you’ve ever wondered what type of tree was nearby but didn’t have a guide book, a new smartphone app allows users with no formal training to satisfy their curiosity and contribute to science at the same time.
Scientists have developed the first mobile app to identify plants by simply photographing a leaf. The free iPhone and iPad app, called Leafsnap, instantly searches a growing library of leaf images amassed by the Smithsonian Institution. In seconds, it returns a likely species name, high-resolution photographs and information on the tree’s flowers, fruit, seeds and bark.
Users make the final identification and share their findings with the app’s growing database to help map the population of trees one mobile phone at a time.
“Historical and Recreational Map of Los Angeles,” designed by Jo Mora in 1942 and dedicated to his “buen amigo” Charles Lummis. The map squeezes in an extraordinary amount of historical facts and figures onto its 23- by 30-inch surface, depicting almost the entire history of Los Angeles up to that point, while looking toward the future.
Mora took a humorous approach to issues surrounding the tangled history of Los Angeles. The amount of detail is astounding, covering a huge spectrum – from the city’s water wars to the rise of the film industry. Excerpts don’t do the map justice (you owe it to yourself to go look at the full size map at the exhibit), but observing the details reveals Mora’s keen understanding of the city.
The largest collection of Isaac Newton’s papers has gone digital, committing to open-access posterity the works of one of history’s greatest scientist.
Among the works shared online by the Cambridge Digital Library are Newton’s own annotated copy of Principia Mathematica and the ‘Waste Book,’ the notebook in which a young Newton worked out the principles of calculus.
“Anyone, wherever they are, can see at the click of a mouse how Newton worked and how he went about developing his theories and experiments,” said Grant Young, the library’s digitization manager, in a press release. “Before today, anyone who wanted to see these things had to come to Cambridge. Now we’re bringing Cambridge University Library to the world.”
Approximately 4,000 pages of material are available now, and thousands more will be uploaded in coming months.
Cambridge University Library holds the largest and most important collection of the scientific works of Isaac Newton (1642-1727). Newton was closely associated with Cambridge. He came to the University as a student in 1661, graduating in 1665, and from 1669 to 1701 he held the Lucasian Chair of Mathematics. Under the regulations for this Chair, Newton was required to deposit copies of his lectures in the University Library.
I love that they are calling the project the “International Digitizing Ephemera Project.”
Ephemera – (1) something of no lasting significance, or (2) paper items that were originally meant to be discarded after use but have since become collectibles.
The UCLA Library announced last month a new project aimed at recording and cataloging all relevant forms of social media and photographs involving the Arab Spring, a wave of protests and demonstrations that have swept through the Middle East and North Africa over the past year.
(The project) is largely funded by a $3.4 million donation from the Arcadia Fund, an organization that supports preservation and digitization projects. Libraries apply for grants from the fund and receive money based on the scope of their work.
“The shelf life of these materials is not very long, so it is important that we start our work while the events are taking place, enabling us to have a greater database available to us,” said Todd Grappone, associate university librarian for Digital Initiatives and Information Technology at UCLA.
Data will be collected from verified sources, such as the Twitter accounts of journalists in the region, and stored according to their content and subject matter.
Projects like this are important for scholarship, she said, because they reflect a trend toward the use of digital media as a means of research for current affairs in the Middle East.
Something amazing has happened over at C-SPAN. In their Archives division they have put online 25 years worth of video covering American culture and politics.
Even better the website was done by JESS3, which means that it is top-notch. This includes best videos of the day, month, and forever (by views). Plus, most shared videos, embeddable spots, an interactive schedule, a page for each member of congress, and more.
It’s pretty incredible…now I just need to find a way to add civic programming into my all-entertainment schedule.
Every C-SPAN program aired since 1987, now totaling over 170,000 hours, is contained in the C-SPAN Archives and immediately accessible.
Baseball has it roots far back in history. A manuscript from France in 1344 has an illustration of monks and nuns playing a game of bat and ball. The modern beginnings most likely date back to the early 1700s in America. In 1744, the term “base-ball” was printed in an English book and in 1791 the town of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, kicked the ball players off their field by ordinance.
The records and photos of those days show a game gaining in popularity. Teams were popping up all over for recreation (after work, weekends). Mostly playing themselves but occasionally playing teams across the river, down the road.
In the 1800s the game went huge, particularly in New York where journalists referred to it as the “national pastime”. Leagues were formed, stadiums were built, and players were paid to play the game.
By the turn of the century baseball looked like the modern-day game, with owners, presidents, managers, and star players.