Photo of author Susan Cooper next to the cover of her novel The Dark is Rising

Happy Birthday, Susan Cooper

Cooper’s work was heavily influenced by her childhood. She grew up in a war torn England during World War II. She recalls spending many nights as a child in her family’s bomb shelter, falling asleep to the sound of her mother’s voice telling her stories. Because of the strict curfew after dark, she spent a lot of time indoors, devouring any books she could get her hands on, especially fairy stories. Cooper attended university at a time when C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien were teaching at Oxford, and the English curriculum was shaped by the two famous novelists. Although she never knew them personally, she and her classmates learned to “believe in dragons”, thanks to the wild imagination of these two men.

Intellectual Freedom News

Intellectual Freedom News 5/20/2022

Although book bans are nothing new, there were more censorship attempts in 2021 than at any time since the American Library Association began tracking more than two decades ago.

Unite Against Book Bans is a national campaign to protect the rights of everyone to access a variety of books, in libraries and elsewhere.

We trust individuals to make their own decisions about what they read and believe.

Join us as we unite against book bans. https://uniteagainstbookbans.org/take-action/

The words “A Conversation about Book Challenges” on a light green background with the logo for Down Time with Cranston Public Library to the right of it. The logo is a pair of bright green headphones over a light blue stack of books.

A Conversation about Book Challenges

The Cranston Public Library in Cranston, RI hosts a weekly podcast titled Down Time with Cranston Public Library where they talk with librarians, library workers and community members about a variety of topics. On February 15th, 2022 they spoke with Martin Garnar, director of the Amherst College Library, and Marianne Mirando, the Librarian from Westerly High School in Westerly, RI to talk about the recent increase in book challenges across the country. They discussed what it means for a book to be challenged in a school or public library and what you can do to protect intellectual freedom in your community. This post is an excerpt from their conversation.

Intellectual Freedom News

Intellectual Freedom News 5/13/2022

The American Library Association (ALA) and a coalition of more than 25 groups are banding together to empower individuals and communities to fight censorship and protect the freedom to read. Organizations including the American Federation of Teachers and the Authors Guild have joined the association’s Unite Against Book Bans campaign to raise awareness about the recent rise in book challenges in public libraries and schools. #UniteAgainstBookBans

Toby Price

Assistant Principal Fired Over “I Need a New Butt” Readaloud

A Mississippi educator will have to wait to see if he will be rehired after he was fired for reading a children’s book called “I Need a New Butt!” by Dawn McMillan, to a group of second graders. Toby Price is fighting to regain his job as assistant principal at Gary Road Elementary in the Jackson suburb of Byram in Hinds County. The Hinds County School Board’s decision on Price’s employment is expected in about two months.

Intellectual Freedom News

Intellectual Freedom News 5/6/2022

ALA announces Ukraine Library Relief Fund. In cities and towns throughout Ukraine, dozens of libraries have been severely damaged or destroyed. Librarians have kept libraries open for as long as possible and are improvising to bring services to people. Kreminna City Library offered services a couple of hours a week as street fighting raged. And in Kharkiv, a library was organized in the metropolitan transit system where families were taking shelter. Funds raised will help purchase computers, software, and other resources. Donations will also help support immediate repair needs such as glazing windows and repairing roofs damaged by bombing to keep libraries open. ULA will provide small amounts of support for librarians and library workers who are in harm’s way, wounded, or displaced and need of financial assistance. ALA will send donations to ULA once a month.