Banned Books Week

Banned Books Week is a nationwide event usually occurring the last full week in September. This year,  Sept. 21-27, libraries throughout the country created displays and held readings of banned or challenged books.  In Trexler Library, a display has been created with more than 30 of the most challenged or banned books. In addition, one of Prof. Cathy Kim’s classes came to the library to read from banned or challenged books they had chosen.

One might be surprised to hear just how much books are banned or challenged in the United States.  Over this recent past decade, 5,099 challenges were reported to the Office for Intellectual Freedom.

According to the American Library Association, here are the top three reasons for challenges:

  1. Sexual explicitness
  2. Offensive language
  3. Unsuited for age group

In 2013, out of 307 challenges as reported by the Office for Intellectual Freedom, the top honors go to:

  1. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited for age group, violence 2.  The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violence 3.  The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  2. Fifty Shades of Grey, by E.L. James Reasons: Nudity, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  3. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins Reasons: Religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group
  4.   A Bad Boy Can Be Good for A Girl, by Tanya Lee Stone Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit
  5. Looking for Alaska, by John Green Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group 8.  The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  6. Bless Me Ultima, by RudolfoAnaya Reasons: Occult/Satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit 10.  Bone (series), by Jeff Smith Reasons: Political viewpoint, racism, violence

For more information on banned/challenged books, or Banned Books Week, visit the American Library Association website.

Posted in General Item | Comments Off

Warren Commission Report presented to President Lyndon B. Johnson 50 years ago today – digital access now available to the report and 26 hearing volumes

In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the release of the Warren Commission Report, the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) has made the complete report and 26 hearing volumes available on GPO’s Federal Digital System (FDsys). The Commission was created by President Lyndon Johnson and chaired by Chief Justice Earl Warren to investigate President Kennedy’s assassination on November 22, 1963. GPO worked with Boston Public Library to digitize the 26 hearing volumes after digitizing the Warren Commission Report last year. Now the complete, official Warren Commission Report and hearing volumes are digitally available through GPO.

  • For link to complete Warren Commission Report, click here
  • For link to historic video of GPO’s production of the Warren Commission Report, click here

The original report (SuDocs number Pr 36.8:K 38/R 29) and 26 investigation hearing volumes (SuDocs number K 38/H 35/ ) can be found in Trexler Library’s Government Publications Collection.

Posted in General Item | Comments Off

U.S. Government Printing Office partners with the Digital Public Library of America

The U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) and the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) have partnered to increase public access to the Government information that GPO makes available through the Catalog of U.S. Government Publications (CGP). The DPLA is a repository of digitized content from American libraries, archives, and museums that is available for free to the public. Through the partnership, nearly 150,000 records from GPO’s CGP will also be available to the public through the DPLA website. Examples of records include: the Federal Budget, laws such as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Federal regulations, and Congressional hearings, reports, and documents. GPO continuously adds records to the CGP which will also be available through the DPLA, increasing the discoverability of and access to Federal Government information for the American public.

Posted in General Item | Comments Off

Center for Ethics resources

Library staff have compiled a list of resources, most of them available online, by and about speakers participating in this year’s Center for Ethics program.
Here is a small sample of the available resources to whet your intellectual appetite:

Works by Barbara Cruikshank

“Feminism and Punishment.” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture & Society. 24.4 (1999). Available here. “Too, and Too Little.” Politics & Gender. 1.2 (2005): 336-341. Available here.

Works by Scott Lemieux

“Author Page for Scott Lemieux.” Web blog post. Lawyers, Guns & Money. 2014. Available here.

“Scalia Gets It Right.” Web blog post. The American Prospect. 3 June 2013. Available here.

Works by Erik Loomis

["Labor Online Blog Posts by Erik Loomis."] Labor and Working Class History Association. 2014. Available here.

Loomis, E, and R Edgington. “Lives Under the Canopy: Spotted Owls and Loggers in Western Forests.” Natural Resources Journal. 52.1 (2013): 99-134. Available here.

Works by Ursula Rucker

“For Women.” YouTube. N.d. Available here.

“I Ain’t (Yo Punk Ass Bitch).” YouTube. 2010. Available here.

Works by Daniel Pellow

Brulle, Robert J, and David N. Pellow. “Environmental Justice: Human Health and Environmental Inequalities.” Annual Review of Public Health. 27.1 (2006). Available here.

“From “Just Us” to Justice: Connecting the Environment, Community, and Academy.” Sociological Forum. 14.2 (1999). Available here.

Works by Caroll Bogert

“What Are the BRICS Building?” Slate. The Slate Group, 28 Mar. 2013. Available here.

“Old Hands, New Voice.” Columbia Journalism Review. 24 March 2009. Available here.

Works by Nancy Fraser

“Recognition Without Ethics?.” Theory, Culture & Society 18.2/3 (2001): 21. Available here.

Scales of Justice: Reimagining Political Space in a Globalizing World. New York: Columbia University Press, 2009. Available here.

Feel free to integrate these readings into your courses to promote a lively and conversation around this year’s theme of “Civility and Disobedience.”
Posted in General Item | Comments Off


With the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the U.S. Government Printing Office is making the official, digital version of the law available on the agency’s Federal Digital System (FDsys).  The Civil Rights Act, signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson on July 2, 1964, prohibited segregation and discrimination in schools, public places and activities, and employment practices.

Posted in General Item | Comments Off

ProQuest databases unavailable 10PM Saturday -11AM Sunday, June 14-15

On June 14, 2014 ProQuest will make improvements to its internal systems to accommodate a growing number of users and to reduce the need for future downtime.

ProQuest expects the products and platforms listed below to not be available from approximately 10:00 PM EDT, Saturday, June 14, 2014 through 11:00 AM EDT, Sunday, June 15, 2014.

  • ProQuest
  • ProQuest Support Center
  • ProQuest Dialog
  • ProQuest Congressional
  • ProQuest Digital Microfilm
Posted in General Item | Comments Off

Special Collections & Archives Highlights: Emily Dickinson Letter

On this date 128 years ago, May 15, 1886, poet Emily Dickinson passed away in Amherst, MA. Special Collections is the repository for a letter that Dickinson wrote to a friend towards the end of her life.

Emily Dickinson letter uncat-1

Page 1

The notably reclusive poet was an active correspondent,  and one of her particular friends during her later years was Eugenia Hall, the “Genie” to whom our letter is address. Though undated, the four-page letter was probably composed ca. 1885.  It appeared in the first published collection of Dickinson’s letters in 1894 (811.4 D553L, p. 427).

Dear “Genie,”

The love-flower you sent me is like a little vase of spice and fills the hall with cinnamon.

You must have skillful hands to make such sweet carnations. Perhaps your doll taught you. I know that dolls are sometimes wise. Robins are my dolls.

Emily Dickinson letter4

Page 4

I am glad you love the blossoms so well. I hope you love birds too. It is economical. It saves going to heaven.

Lovingly, Coz. Emily.

This autograph letter, as well as documents signed by Abraham Lincoln, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, and others, may be viewed upon request by visiting Special Collections.


Posted in General Item | Tagged , , | Comments Off

Special Collections & Archives Highlights: William Penn Land Grant

William Penn signed land grant

Pennsylvania land grant to John Tizacke, signed by William Penn, 12 May 1684

In 1681, Charles II of England granted William Penn approximately 45,000 square miles of land in the New World—the region now known as Pennsylvania. Penn, though a well-known dissident and Quaker, had maintained a civil relationship with the Stuart ruler, and the land is said to have been given to Penn as settlement for a debt of £16,000 owed to his father, Admiral William Penn, a long-serving naval officer. This was by far the largest and most liberal land grant given by the Crown.Badge_final

Penn, long an advocate for religious tolerance, sought to create in Pennsylvania a haven for Quakers and others facing religious persecution across Europe. This indenture, or deed, effectively sells 1,000 acres to one John Tizacke for the small sum of five shillings, to be held free and clear after one year’s rent of “one pepper corn.” Even today, a “peppercorn” is the legal term for a nominal payment that creates a legally binding transaction.

John Tizacke (or Tyzack)detail1_sm came from a family of glass-makers from Newcastle-upon-Tyne in the English county of Northumberland, and he was a documented Quaker. He and his wife, Sarah, were members of the Gateshead Society of Friends, and John was reportedly jailed and tried for attending a Quaker meeting and refusing to swear an oath of conformity per the Quaker Act of 1662 (swearing oaths is antithetical to Quaker beliefs). One can only imagine that he was grateful for the opportunity to emigrate to Pennsylvania.

Penn's signature

Penn’s signature

Since Penn’s desired glass-making industry in Pennsylvania was largely unsuccessful until the Revolutionary period, Tisacke returned to England by 1691, but there are numerous records of his having become something of a real estate mogul, with his name appearing on land transaction documents both in Philadelphia and in England.

This indenture is largely printed on parchment, or vellum, with the names and locations filled in by hand. The fading that can be seen in Penn’s signature is characteristic of the corrosive effect of iron gall ink– the standard writing medium from the fifth through the nineteenth century–which eventually disintegrates the fibers of paper or parchment. This is one of several Penn family deeds held in Special Collections.

William Penn's seal

William Penn’s seal


Penn, William, and Mary Maples Dunn. The Papers of William Penn. Vol. 2. Philadelphia, Pa.: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1982.

Soderlund, Jean R.. William Penn and the Founding of Pennsylvania, 1680-1684: A Documentary History. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1983.

“The Travels of John Tyzack, Broadglass maker.” The Tyzacks. /all4.html (accessed April 15, 2014).

Posted in General Item | Tagged , | Comments Off

2014 Library Scholars Announced!

The Library Scholar award recognizes students who have demonstrated growth in and increased understanding of information literacy through independent study or research. Students were nominated by faculty; winners were chosen through an application process reviewed by the award committee.

A hearty thank you to all faculty who submitted nominations and to the many students who produced such quality work and applications.

The winners (and nominators) of the 2014 Trexler Library Scholars competition are:

  • Kristen Wendt ‘15 – Nominated by Prof. Susan Clemens and Prof. Sally Richwine
  • Michael Schramm ‘14 – Nominated by Prof. Daniel Wilson

A library display highlighting this year’s award winners will be posted near the reading lounge on Level A of Trexler Library.

A special thank you to our judges: Dr. Michael Huber, Dean of Academic Life Rachel Hamelers, Librarian Peter Schartel, Class of ‘15, 2013 Library Scholar

Congratulations to our 2014 Trexler Library Scholars!

Posted in Events, General Item, Library News | Comments Off

First Annual Edible Book Festival Recap

Our first annual edible book festival, which took place Friday, April 11th, was a smashing success! Over a dozen contestants contributed a veritable buffet of edible books representing an array of literary genres and authors. Prizes were awarded for Most Booklike, Most Humorous, Best Student Entry, People’s Choice, and Best in Show. Attendees were invited to sample the entries after the awards presentation and all agreed the entries were both imaginative and delicious!

most book like

WINNER: Most Booklike
Bake at Fahrenheit 451
Faculty/Staff Entry: Katy Mangold

most humorous

WINNER: Most Humorous
12 Angry Henz – 12 Angry Men
Faculty/Staff Entry: Rachel Hamelers

people's choice

WINNER: People’s Choice
WINNER: Best Student Entry
Cinnamon World of Roald Dahl – The works of Roald Dahl/ Student Entry: Alex McKhann, Emily Baldasarra, Hannah Cook, Matt Dicken, Brian Pacelli, Marc Jablonski

best in show

WINNER: Best in Show
The House of Seven “Clark” Gables
Faculty/Staff Entry: Joy LeFevre

Visit our Facebook page for additional photos.

Posted in Events | Comments Off