Pssssst! Read Any Banned Books Lately?

by Oletta Branstiter A School Library should challenge students. As an Intermediate public school Library Specialist, intimately acquainted with over 9,000 books in circulation, I can attest to the fact that over two dozen of the books on the American Library Association list of frequently challenged children’s books are either checked out or resting comfortably on the bookshelves in my library. This is my eighth year working in a public school library. I can count on the fingers of one hand the times a book in my library has been…

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Art Should Reveal Uncomfortable Truths

To Kill a Mockingbird book cover

by Oletta Branstiter Should art be created to make us feel comfortable? The school district in Biloxi, Mississippi recently decided to eliminate To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, from the 8th-grade reading list. The reason? “Language in the book makes some people uncomfortable.” Was the complaint based on the historical and contextual use of the word “nigger”? Or was it more insidious? Do the objections reflect the same lack of understanding that led to the banning of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain?…

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Will God Survive Science? Dan Brown’s Latest Novel Challenges The Creator

cover of the newest fiction from best selling author Dan Brown - "Origin"

by Oletta Branstiter “Will God survive Science?” This was the question author Dan Brown posed during an interview on a Dallas-Fort Worth radio station on the morning of October 5. He cited the fact that understanding oceanic science replaced the ancient mythology of Poseidon. Dan Brown is the renowned author who used his bestseller, “The Da Vinci Code”, to explore the idea that Jesus Christ married Mary Magdalen, who bore his child, leaving a legacy of DNA from the Son of God. His latest book, released on October 3, titled…

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Check It Out: Library Blog – Who Needs School Libraries?

Empty Library Bookcases

by Oletta Branstiter Libraries & Books One of the saddest things you’ll ever imagine is a Library that might have been. To this day, historians lament the destruction of the Great Library of Alexandria, believed to have been destroyed by fire around 2,000 years ago. It is believed that around 295 BCE, the scholar and orator Demetrius of Phalerum, an exiled governor of Athens, convinced Ptolemy I Soter to establish the Library. Demetrius envisioned a library that would house a copy of every book in the world, an institution to…

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Newt Gingrich’s “Understanding Trump” – No Thanks Newt, It’s Not That Complicated

by Richard Cameron “Understanding Trump” I happened to be randomly making a tour of the Costco in Glendale, Arizona while my mother was having an eye exam.  In the course of my aimless rambling, strolling past the books offered for sale – one hardcover book arrested my attention.  It was “Understanding Trump” by none other than persistent Trump carney barker, Newt Gingrich. That such a book had arrived on the scene a week or so ago, eluded me, given that I am not the target audience for it. The target demo…

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