Archive for the ‘online participation’ Category

Hello all,

The Cumberland County Public Library & Information Center has transitioned to a new catalog. 

Older links in this blog that take you to our website to reserve an item will no longer work.  Please visit our site www.cumberland.lib.nc.us and click on “Find a Book” to access the new catalog.

Thank you!




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…and they’ll offend you and you and YOU!   Well, if I’m doing my job right they will.  There are books in the library that offend everyone because there are books FOR everyone.   It’s like going down the rabbit hole — follow me around that circular logic, my friends.  Wheee!

Just in time for Banned Books Week, a coworker sent me an email about this crazy-crazy happening that took place over the weekend.   I didn’t hear about until now because my computer has died and it just sits there, taunting me, like a big, silver paperweight….holding my music hostage!! *sniffle*  Anyway…

SPEAK up for SPEAK!!!

An associate professor of management at Missouri State University, Wesley Scroggins, has written a diatribe about how Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson is basically soft porn and should be removed from the school libraries in the district where he lives. 

Yes, he’s talking about THAT Speak, which ten years on is still an extremely popular young adult novel.  I’ve mentioned it in this blog before: briefly in a review and as a book that’s been made into a film – incidentally, the film stars Kristen Stewart of Twilight fame). 

So, here is Ms. Anderson’s response. 

…and please, oh please, play the video of her reading her poem “Listen”, which she created based on reader response to Speak.

Now, I took a sharp left turn when I could have been a teacher, so I’m going to go to an expert on this one.  

Here is an extremely well-reasoned and literary rebuttal to Mr. Scroggins’ “willful misreading” (I like that, that says it so well) by Philip Nel, Professor of English and Director of Kansas State University’s Program in Children’s Literature. 

This story has been all over the interwebs and Twitter has kinda exploded (Follow the thread #SpeakLoudly) and Ms. Anderson and Sarah Ockler, whose book Twenty Boy Summer is also being challenged have just done interviews with the paper that printed the initial opinion piece.  (he’s also going after Slaughterhouse Five, but Kurt Vonnegut can’t fight back…)  So anyway, keep an eye out for that article.

Here Ms. Ockler explains a bit more about the situation (who the challenge/opinion piece writer is, why this is a bigger deal than just the removal of one or two books from a school district’s library, and how you can get involved if you want to do something more).  Apparently this is the same area where another school board recently removed Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian.

I just have to say…this reminds me so much of the craziness that happened with Sarah Dessen’s book, Just Listen.  In Florida, an upset parent stood up in front of school board members and began reading portions of the date-rape scene, which by necessity is horrific

Yet instead of saying that yes, that particular scene was unsavory but necessary and that there is more to the book than just that scene, the parent and the school board member running the meeting painted the whole book with the same brush, disregarded the fact that the book was important for so many reasons, and that perhaps, by describing that situation, other teenage girls might recognize that a situation they’d been subjected to was non-consensual…or they might recognize a situation getting bad and get themselves out of it before they are hurt. 

*okay…deep breath*  Go here for Ms. Dessen’s response at the time.

Earlier today I set up the Banned Books Display for the teens in my library.  Every year someone will inevitably say, “…but no one really bans books anymore, right?”  Um, no.  …and people still hold book burnings, too (that Qu’ran incident is only the latest and greatest), though they’re mostly symbolic and feel-good events, “Throw another Harry Potter on the barbie!”  Perfectly fine, yay First Amendment rights and all that…they can burn them as long as they bought them…no worries.

What I worry about is when somebody other than a child or teenager’s parents comes in and takes books away from those teens.  The theme for this year’s Banned Books Week is particularly apt, “Think for yourself and let others do the same.”  

Putting up big walls around teenagers will not keep them safe, for someday they must go out into that world.   Refusing to let them see the reality of choices, even bad choices (for example, what can happen to you when you’re addicted to methamphetamines like the main character in Ellen Hopkin’s book Crank), leaves them vulnerable.

Hopkins, who you may or may not have heard was dis-invited from a book festival earlier this year, says it so well in her Manifesto: “Ignorance is no armor.”  Please read the whole Manifesto.

So, I’ve gone on a bit, but please, share with me and those people who read this blog…have you read Speak, or Just Listen, or any one of the top hundred books banned this decade? 

Please, #SpeakLoudly.  The next book facing a challenge might be one you need to read.

Some folks around the blogosphere who are Speaking out for Speak:

YA author Jo Knowles


YA author Cecil Castellucci




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Members of the Carolina Garrison of the 501st Legion menaced con-goers, to the delight of all.

Librari-Con 2010 was a great success: teens came, they saw, they danced funny little dances (“Uma uma dance” anyone?) and it. was. kinda. awesome.  🙂

We got a really nice write up in the Fayetteville Observer, too.

Librari-Con: Fans of anime, manga, converge in Fayetteville

Were you here?  What did you think?  Did you have a good time?  Leave comments and let us know, pretty please! 

Check back after Thursday, Sept 9th and I’ll have the Librari-con 2010 photo gallery updated on the Teen Flickr page! 


Enjoy 🙂

Thanks to all the library staff and community volunteers who help make Librari-Con possible, and to our enthusiastic Minions (teen volunteers) for their energy and dedication.  You all rock. 

As always, thank you to our artists, guests, and sponsors.  As a public library, we have limited resources and often rely on good will, the spirit of cooperation, and donations to bring this program into being for our teens (and not so teenage) patrons.  🙂



Update: SRPE (Society for the Refinement of Polyvarietal Entertainment, and Librari-Con volunteers) has a gallery of Librari-Con 2010 pics.  Enjoy!

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Have you ever read a Fantasy Romantic Comedy and thought:  who puts a clumsy Cyclops in a relationship with the Princess Udashika of Helaisissia, the most beautiful and civilized planet in the Kythera Star System?   If you think you can weave a better yarn, here’s your chance to precipitately plunge parrying people’s prodigious potential to prevail. In other words, your submission could be the best!

Collaborate with other writers to create a 4000 word Fantasy Romantic Comedy short story over an eight week period beginning September 1st and ending on October 31, 2009.  You may submit a new segment every week to continue the story. The completed story will be posted online and printed & distributed free throughout the Cumberland County Public Library & Information Center system.

Follow the linky bits for the complete submission guidelines, the story so far, and some useful definitions of fantasy romance and romantic comedy.

Credit for the cool lead-in goes to program’s main instigator Larry Gavin.

Come play!   🙂


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Prior to the elections in November 2008, my library facilitated a talk by guest speaker Leonard Pitts, Jr., a syndicated news columnist, entitled: Owning What You Know: The Decline of Reason in Politics and Public Discourse

I think it was especially prescient, considering the manner in which serious issues are being discussed these days — issues that affect all of us (regardless of one’s age, race, creed, gender, civic affiliation, sexual orientation, income tax bracket, or political party).

Open a newspaper, read a magazine, turn on the tv or go online to the news outlet of your choice and you can see for yourself how some vocal and demonstrative portions of the American public choose to have “discourse”:  town hall meetings being disrupted, protestors holding signs that compare political leaders to nazis and saying with great certainty that current policies being debated are akin to socialism (though if pressed, I wonder how many could define the term and clearly express why they believe it to be a negative thing – bonus points if they don’t invoke Hitler, Mussolini, or Mao), YouTube is flooded with clips of outrage, anger, sadness, and fear (some real, some fabricated), and statistics, facts, and figures are being reported, distorted, or spun, depending on the motivation of the source. 

This is a library blog for teens, not a stump for any particular point of view, however, I feel compelled to offer some advice and resources for making sense of the chaotic “24-hour news cycle.”

Get your information from multiple sources – you wouldn’t write a paper for school with only one book as a reference, so don’t settle for a single source when it comes to being an informed citizen.  Even if you aren’t old enough to vote, you should be aware of the decisions being made today that will affect your future. 

Know who is responsible for the information you read or hear.  In other words, consider the source, their qualifications, and their motives.    

When you hear someone repeat a quote or give a reference to a speech, study, or poll…LOOK IT UP!  There are a lot of online fact-checking resources for just this type of thing or you can go right to the source: federal government (executive, legislative, and judicial branches); medical information; studies and reports on issues in the news , etc.  At the very least, “Google” the name of the organization that is being referenced.

Make use of resources provided by the public library including databases of magazine and newspaper articles and websites such as CQ Researcher (available through NC LIVE; contact your nearest branch for assistance logging in or contact a library in the county or state where you reside) which provides information and documentation on more than one side of any given issue.

In order to have a reasonable conversation, the participants in that conversation need to know what they’re talking about. 

Be informed.  Be aware of what is going on in your town, state, country and world.  Be part of the “public discourse,” and own what you know.



…and just so it’s clear, opinions expressed in this post – or anywhere in this blog, for that matter – belong to the person expressing them (in this case, me) and are not authorized by or intended to represent the Cumberland County Public Library & Information Center. 


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There have been very few submissions for our Teen Tech Online Challenges event this month — actually, there have been none. 


HOWEVER, I choose to believe that lots of teens have tried out the Flickr toys and made hilarious/poignant/touching works of art which they have then shared with their friends and family. 


I do not do this because of any pesky facts or statistics — simply my general faith in creativity of teenaged-folk and my actual experiences with getting them to participate in activities and share their creations. 


Unless duct tape is involved.  That seems to bring them in. 

‘Cause it’s AWESOME!


So, because they [YOU!] did not come to me….

…I will come to them [YOU!]. 

Kinda like stalking.  But with software.


Here are some shiny linky-bits and fun stuff that I’ve found as I’ve skipped merrily down the road to he….um…to the park. 

I love parks.  Lots of trees.  They rock. 

Parks, that is, not necessarily the trees…unless they’re petrified…but that’s really rare….um. 


Right.  Here you go.  J



Make an animated GIF from your pictures.



Think collages but without the glue.



Turn words into shapes.



Make beautiful word clouds.



Make your very own computer game.



…’cause teen tech week is EVERY week. 

I guess this means that there’s joy to be found, after all. 

Awesome.  J




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Create and Share using Flickr Toys

Edit, alter, and arrange pictures using the online tools at BigHugeLabs and enter your creations to our Flickr Teen Tech Gallery

[only my examples, so far…I need TEEN ENTRIES!!!  plsthx-ml]

For some inspiration check out fd’s Flickr Toy Pool.

I’m partial to the Lolcat Generator and the Trading Card Maker, myself!


So get going and show us what’cha got!

Check back for more tech-savvy fun and games throughout the month…


Whoops…I almost forgot!  Rosen Publishing is hosting a Teen Tech Week writing contest:  Teen Health & Wellness-Share Your Personal Story.  The deadline is March 31st and there are prizes and possible publication involved.  Good luck!



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