Sunday, September 30, 2012
Banned books & living in the library
Starting today, a writer & editor (& fan of Kurt Vonnegut & free speech, I am guessing) will live in the Kurt Vonnegut Library in downtown Indianapolis. His plan is to stay into October, through the end of Banned Books Week.
Well, good for him. I am planning on reading a banned book; I have started the Alice series by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor because I adored Witch's Sister & the sequels when I first read them when I was maybe ?12? I am guessing they have been banned somewhere as well (witchcraft!).
More interesting to me, though, is this business of living in the library. I am interested because last month someone returned a dachshund to our local library. The librarian does rescue cats, & feeds strays (& underfed "pets") & our best guess is someone knew she would find a good home for the little dog (& a good home has been found).
Cats & the occasional dog are not the only ones who call our local library branch home. According to the 2010 census, this particular town had a median income of $12,345 (to put this in perspective the 2010 threshold for poverty for a person under 65 was $11,344). This town has no community center (although there is a Senior Center that does an excellent sideline with mentally disabled adults of any age). There is not even an in-town high school; the kids that stay in school go to high school in the booming metropolis next door (population 3,630 per the same census).
What is does have is a well funded library. This is because the county has a well funded library & this branch is part of that system (not coincidentally, the school district is also county wide & one of the best in the country). If the library seems like a waste of money in a town were people are barely scraping by, I promise it isn't. This place is hopping pretty much any day you go in: On school days, the tables get set up for all kinds of board games in prep. for the school bus unloading, the computers with internet access have long sign-up sheets & as it gets close to closing time, the kids line up to use a phone (in a just-scraping-by community, the kids don't all have cell phones, never mind smart phones). Earlier in the day it's moms & grandmoms & great-grandmoms with toddlers having their own story hours on the carpet in the miniscule children's section. On Sundays, after church, the Mennonite ladies stop in for their romance novels & the Mennonite men surf the web.
For the start of this Banned Books Week there are big, big plans; here the first day of Banned Books Week is the Family Literacy Festival. Because the first step in getting books off the burn pile & on to the shelves is teaching everyone to read.