Sunday, September 30, 2018

Books Are Weapons in the War of Ideas

Sponsored by the American Library Association and allied organizations, Banned Books Week is an annual celebration of the freedom to read. It began in 1982 in response to widespread censorship of books, and since that time over 11,000 books have been challenged in communities throughout the United States.

The American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom has been documenting cases of challenged and banned books since 1990, and the ALA's Library Bill of Rights strongly supports free and unfettered access to information and ideas. Internationally, the Index on Censorship is an organization that promotes and defends the right to freedom of expression.

Note: The World War II poster shown here features a quotation by Franklin Roosevelt and was illustrated by S. Broder. Published in 1942 by the U.S. Government Printing Office, it was distributed by the Division of Public Inquiry within the Office of War Information.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

The 10th Annual Iowa City Book Festival

Designated in 2008 as one of the very first UNESCO Cities of Literature in the world, Iowa City will be hosting the tenth annual Iowa City Book Festival, October 1-7, 2018. In conjunction with the University of Iowa, FilmScene, the Iowa City Public Library, and the Iowa Arts Council, as well as other organizations and individuals, the seven-day event will feature a Book Fair, readings by dozens of authors, and non-stop programming at many venues in and around downtown Iowa City.

As usual, many of this year's events will involve the University of Iowa's International Writing Program, which was founded in 1967 by Paul Engle and Hualing Nieh Engle. During this period, over 1,400 writers from more than 140 countries have spent a residency in Iowa City, where they have enriched the writing culture of the community while experiencing firsthand life at an American university. Sponsored by the City of Coralville, the annual Paul Engle Prize will be awarded to a writer who "makes an impact on his or her community and the world at large through efforts beyond the page." 

The 2018 Program can be downloaded as a PDF, and full details can be found at the festival website.

Monday, September 10, 2018

De gustibus non est disputandum

This recent display at the Iowa City Public Library featured books disliked by staff, as well as titles selected by disapproving patrons. As the ancients said about such matters: There's no accounting for taste. 

Monday, September 3, 2018

The First Monday in September

To commemorate Labor Day 2018, here is musician Billy Bragg's version of "There Is Power in a Union," a song written in 1913 by Joe Hill [1879-1915], a Swedish-American labor activist and member of the Wobblies, or Industrial Workers of the World.