Please welcome Charlie Owen, our Acquisitions and Administrative Assistant and guest blogger for this week!
As some of you may know, last week was the annual observance of Banned Books Week. The American Library Association, or ALA, and libraries all over the country celebrate this and use it as a means of making known that to this day people attempt to censor free speech by challenging the presence of books in all types of libraries. Typically the challenges arise from themes in books that go against the beliefs of individuals or groups of people. Wheelock produces many educators who may experience challenges, and regardless of your major you may find yourself witnessing a challenge in a library in your community. These challenges are often made by people with very strong convictions who really want to see the materials in question removed from the library.
That said I do not want to scare anyone into feeling like a challenge should be a confrontation. Rather than consider challenges negatively, you can more positively utilize the time to discuss with parents or members of the community the importance of diverse viewpoints. Try to remember that when people challenge books they are typically doing it with a sense of trying to protect their loved ones. By acknowledging that all opinions are valid and having a conversation rather than a fight you can build relationships with those who hold opposing views. A crucial service libraries provide is to make available books with viewpoints by marginalized groups in society to supplement those of the majority.
You can get more information about book challenges on the ALA’s website at http://www.ala.org/bbooks/. Take a look at the ALA’s Frequently Challenged Books website, http://www.ala.org/bbooks/frequentlychallengedbooks, to see some of the most challenged books throughout the years. You might also be interested in checking out some of these books Wheelock owns that are frequently on the list of challenged materials.
Whenever I am asked to name my favorite season, I somewhat lamely answer that I don’t have a favorite. Having spent my whole life living in New England I am well acquainted with the positives and negatives that come along with each season and genuinely don’t love one season over another. However, after spending the weekend sick with a cold staring out the window of my apartment at the sad little tree across the road turning a decidedly not vivid brown-ish green color in the cool and gray October weather, I was in need of reminding of the more pleasant aspects of autumn.
I was lucky to stumble upon just such a reminder in the archives while preparing a lesson plan for a library instruction session scheduled for later this week. Suspecting that others might be in need of a similar reminder of the positive aspects of autumn after the past couple of days of cool rainy weather we have experienced here in Boston, I have decided share a couple of the autumn photographs found in the archives. Enjoy!
Wheelock College Campus in autumn. Photograph circa 1978. Photograph from Wheelock College Slide Collection, Wheelock College Archives, Boston, MA.
Wheelock College student walks along the Riverway in autumn. Photograph circa 1978. Photograph from Wheelock College Slide Collection, Wheelock College Archives, Boston, MA.
Back when we were first forming the current blog team, the Library staff joked about ways in which we could get more Harry Potter on to the blog. Someone suggested having regular posts entitled “Hey guys, remember Harry Potter?” and we all laughed but we were kind of serious too. You see, most of the Library staff are huge Harry Potter fans. We use our MBTI types to determine which Harry Potter character we’re most like (You’d be surprised at the number of Dracos we have here.) and compete in Harry Potter Trivia Night under the team name “Madame Pince’s Army” (Second place! We were SO CLOSE!) Unfortunately, the regular Harry Potter posts never happened but I wanted to share one last Style by the Book inspired by that magical series. I’ll see you at Platform 9 3/4!
Each year, the Boston Book Festival makes a short story available to all, free of charge, to spread the joy of reading for pleasure among the teens and adults of our city. This year’s short story is “Home Movie” written by Jennifer De Leon. This story, focusing on a Guatemalan wife and husband living in Boston with their children, explores themes of immigration, home, and memory.
Copies of “Home Movie” are available for free at the Wheelock College Library. Digital copies, as well as Spanish, Russian, Portuguese, and Mandarin translations are available at the One City One Story website. Join one of the discussions that are happening at several Boston Public Library locations or organize your own! The website has some great questions to help you get the conversation started.
For more information about this year’s One City One Story selection, author, events, and the Boston Book Festival happening on October 24th, visit the Boston Book festival website at www.bostonbookfest.org.
One of the best parts of my job is that I get to co-supervise the Library’s Public Services Assistants and Student Library Assistants who work at the Service Desk.
Not only do I have the chance to get to know these employees and help them foster their professional skills, but I also get the chance to be inspired by their strong work ethic and commitment to service.
Group photo of staff participating in Training Day.
This was very apparent on Saturday September 12, which was the date of the Library’s annual Training Day. During a day filled with exercises designed to hone customer service skills, to build camaraderie, and to learn more about Peer Tutoring and the Writing Center, Public Services Assistants and Student Library Assistants were asked to come up with a mission statement to guide the work that they do.
After some discussion, Service Desk Staff came up with the following mission statement:
“Our mission at the Wheelock College Library is to provide patrons with the best customer service in a respectful and positive way. We connect patrons to the resources, information, and services they need to succeed at Wheelock. We create and maintain a welcoming and inclusive environment for all.”
I wanted to share this statement with the community, because it truly represents everything that the Library’s staff members strive to do on a daily basis. And most importantly, this is something that Service Desk Staff have chosen to articulate as their shared mission.
I could not be more proud of this shared mission and look forward to working closely with Service Desk Staff to achieve it each and every day.