Monthly Archives: September 2013

Banned Books Reading List

Banned Books Week was one of my favorite times when I worked in a library. Now that I’m a librarian sans library I’m trying to live vicariously through the librarians in my personal learning network and sharing all kinds of media coverage with my social networks.

For example, I made this image my cover photo:

Over on her blog, Librarian by Day, Bobbi Newman asked What is your favorite banned book?

Note that the phrase “Banned Books” is used in this week to refer to books that are banned as well as those that were challenged, but were never actually banned. Last year I listed my top 5 banned books, and a couple of the titles reappear here but I think these are all good examples of the range of wonderful literature that might surprise you are challenged:

1) To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Banned because of racial content, profanity, and references to rape.

2) A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein

Banned because it promotes violence and disrespect.

3) The Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling

Banned because it promotes the occult, magic, and so undermines Christian values (even though Harry is obviously a Christ-like figure).

4) Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson

Banned because of profanity and sexual content.

5) The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Banned because of drugs, sex, alcohol, abuse, and homosexuality.

Banned Books Week began in 1982 as an attempt to draw attention to the censorship (or attempted censorship) occurring in library (public and school mostly) across the country. Although the focus is on books, the heart of the celebration is intellectual freedom – the ability to read and be exposed to a wide range of ideas which will make children, students, and people in general better learners and citizens.

This week Kelly Jensen at Book Riot draws attention to the fact that many banned books are about outsiders because they are perceived to be threatening, and Barbara Jones of the American Library Association in the Huffington Post wrote about the importance of these books in educating the mainstream about the invisible other and in enabling the other to read about themselves.

Banned Books that I would really like to read:

1) Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury

Banned because it espouses values that are against some people’s religious beliefs.

(author’s note: I picked up the audiobook from my public library to listen to on my commute!)

2) Black Boy, by Richard Wright

Banned because of strong sexual content.

(last year one of my work study students told me this was his favorite banned book in the display)

3)  The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood

Banned because of sexual content, homosexuality, and offensive to Christians.

4) For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway

Banned because it graphically depicts the brutality of war.

5) The Witches , by Rhold Dahl

Banned because children misbehave, satanic, and supports the occult.

(This is a children’s classic, but I never read it because I was a huge wimp when I was little and the idea of witches scared me. But see that – I knew this wasn’t the book for me then, so I chose not to read it – power to the children!)


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Autumn Veggie Tart

Are you an NPR fan? Do you listen to The Splendid Table on Sundays? We’re not avid listeners but I love when I’m in the car and catch a new episode of this foodie show. We also will listen to back episodes on road trips.

A few years back my mom gave my husband and I a copy of their book: The Splendid Table’s How To Eat Supper.

One of our favorite recipes in the book is their Supper Tart which is also on their American Public Media site. Look at the recipe and revel in how weird it seems at first glance: a baked tart with grapes and greens. And get ready for us to make it weirder!

Because of course, over the couple of years we’ve been making this delicious creation, we’ve made some changes here and there.

The first change (I think from the get-go) was the crust. We never have puff pasty in the freezer and it’s not exactly the healthiest option. I’ve been making pizza dough for a number of years now so we just to use that. For quick days when you don’t want to think ahead and wait for dough to rise this is my go-to recipe: No Yeast Pizza Dough. I usually make the flour 1/2 white flour, 1/2 whole wheat to make it more healthy. If you go any higher with the whole wheat ratio then the dough becomes unmanageable.

See how pretty homemade dough is:


Originally for the vegetable part of this supper tart we used the Splendid Table’s mixed greens but have played around with different items we find at the grocery store or during the summer the farmers’ market. This time we tried Kale. Not my favorite (have you cooked Kale in the oven at home? It crisps up like Kale chips – not terrible, but not great).


But the kicker for OUR version of the supper tart? Sweet potatoes. I have really come to love sweet potatoes in things – tarts, frittatas, chili (just not sweet potato fries – weird). We just brown them up …

Sweet Potatos

and then put them on tart following the rest of the regular recipe. Oh, except we just put the grapes on after the tart cooks. I still can’t get behind the idea of cooked grapes – I pick raisins out of anything I find them in!

Super Tart


Plus, this is the perfect fall treat – it’s warm and nourishing and the key ingredients – sweet potatoes, grapes, and greens (kale, radish greens, spinach, etc.) are all seasonal items.

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A Librarian Sans Library: Part 1

*Author’s note: This is the first of a new series that will be published on this blog, chronicling my experiences as a continued self-identified librarian working outside of libraries*


In the last 6 months or so there’s been a number of blog posts, articles, etc. about librarians not working in or leaving libraries to work in other industries or fields.

For more on that topic read:

Bobbi Newman’s: Once A Librarian, Always A Librarian (YES! Thank you!)

Kate’s Hey Libraries: It’s Not Me, It’s You (Multiple Parts)

Or, on an information professional with a masters in library and information science, moving back closer to libraries:

Andromeda Yelton’s: What I’ve Been Up To.

This discussion came at a good time for me – I was job-hunting in a limited geographic region because my husband was offered a great professional opportunity. [Moving for a spouse/partner is an entirely different blog post]

I’d worked in my first libraryland job for about 3 years and wanted to stay in libraries if possible, but knew that might be difficult given the area we were moving to and the job market. I knew I’d need to at least be smart about other professional opportunities I’d consider.

As Naomi at I Need A Library Job recently tweeted:

INALJ Outside the Norm

My husband and dog moved to his new job in May, which spurred me to really expand my employment considerations. However, I wanted to be smart about my job search. I’ve read literature posturing that either your first or your second professional job will dramatically impact the path of your career. I’m not sure if this is true or not, but knew I only wanted to apply for jobs that I would 1) enjoy doing and 2) made sense with my ultimate goal of working in academic libraries. Taking this into consideration I looked around and  applied for jobs in the publishing field working with academic electronic resources… and then saw a position at a community college for a grant writer. That seemed right up my alley – intensive focus on research and writing – two of the reasons I went to grad school for libraries in the first place!

Well my new boss thinks it’s right up a librarian’s alley too. In the 3 weeks since I’ve started my job her catch-phrase is: “It’s lots of research, but you’ve got that covered, you’re a librarian.”

My first reactions to my professional life outside of the library sphere?

Week 1:

Observation 1: The first time someone introduced me and said “she used to be a librarian” hurt my heart. But I am determined that Once A Librarian, Always A Librarian (a la Bobbi Newman). And one day, you’ll take me back, right libraryland?

Observation 2: The HR person I met with used to be a librarian. She was HR — then worked in libraries for about 15 years — then returned to HR for the hours and because she loves the work. She has confidence I will do well in my new role – “Librarians can do anything!”

Week 2:

Observation 1: Working on my first grant! Getting to put my research and writing skills at work feels good.

Observation 2: The process of working on a grant for someone else’s project is a lot like a really in-depth, extended reference interview – lots of open questions about the goals of the project (research), types of resources needed, etc.

Week 3:

Observation 1: I do miss working directly with students. Hopefully my goal of volunteering in my new public library (once I get my life a little more in order) will fill this void.

Observation 2: My boss had me register for a national resource development conference in November! The fact that she is so supportive and really wants me to get trained in this new position is a wonderful feeling – my previous place of work was not very enthusiastic about my professional development desires. I always thought my first national conference would be ALA or ACRL but I’m very excited about this chance and there are some great sessions I am really looking forward to attending.

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