Saturday, February 27, 2010

FLIF's Quick Links

Over at FLIF headquarters (my living room), we decided to try out something new that we liked on other blogs - quick links! Addicted to the Internet as we are, we thought it would be a good idea to share the fruit of our procrastination with all of you out there. It will be semi-regular, and just a list of interesting library and intellectual freedom-related resources from all over the web. SO away we go!

Saturday Links

  • At Social Justice Librarian, Ken Williment from the Working Together Project will be guest-blogging over the next few months. His first post discusses the impact of community led work on the professional identity of librarians, and he plans to discuss the possible systemic barriers that currently exist within library culture and how a community led approach may reduce them.

  • The podcast of Rory Litwin's keynote speech on Disintermediation 2.0 can be found here. Rory spoke here at the University of Alberta's Forum for Information Professionals in early February.

  • A French organisation, Bibliothèques Sans Frontières (BSF), has gone to Haiti to evaluate library damage in and around Port-au-Prince. A 42 page report, “Rapport de la mission de sauvegarde des archives et des collections patrimoniales haïtiennes et d’évaluation des besoins en termes de reconstruction” (Report on the mission to rescue the archives and Haitian heritage collections and to evaluate the reconstruction needs), reveals their findings. Find out more at Librarian Activist.

  • Visit the American Library Association's "Haiti Library Relief" page. The site provides information on ways to help libraries and archives recover, including donations and volunteering, as well as reports on damage to cultural institutions in Haiti, and more.

Have a great weekend and don't forget that the Edmonton Public Library's Freedom Ball is at 7:00 p.m. tonight at the new Art Gallery of Alberta.


Columbia's Biblioburro

CNN recently ran this story about Columbian primary school teacher Luis Soriano, who has spent close to 4,000 hours riding his biblioburro (lit. "book-donkey") to remote villages to reach the thousands of Columbian children who are unable to attend school.

Make sure to visit CNN to watch the short video about Soriano.

From the story:

"More than 4,000 youngsters have benefited from Soriano's program since it began in 1990. Soriano says countless others have been helped, too; parents and other adult learners often participate in the lessons.

Soriano has spent nearly 4,000 hours riding his donkeys, and he's not traveled unscathed. In July 2008, he fractured his leg when he fell from one of the donkeys; in 2006, he was pounced on by bandits at a river crossing and tied to a tree when they found out he had no money. Despite these injuries, which left him with a limp, Soriano has no intention of slowing down.

In addition to the biblioburro program, he and his wife built the largest free library in Magdalena next to their home. The library has 4,200 books, most of which are donated -- some from as far away as New York City. They also run a small community restaurant."

With Freedom to Read Week winding down, a story like this can remind us all of how fortunate we are in Canada to have the unfettered access we do to libraries and education, and can prompt us to find anything within our power to improve access to information for people who do not enjoy the same levels of freedom and access we do. As an example, check out Guatemala's PROBIGUA project, which operates 2 mobile libraries and spearheads literacy projects. You can even pay a nominal fee to stay with a local family and attend Spanish language classes, with all proceeds going to the mobile libraries. As a bonus, the classes will prepare you to ride along in the mobile library!

If you're interested in seeing more, you can check out Remote Access: Distant Libraries of the World from your local library or you can watch segments of it here.

image courtesy of

Friday, February 26, 2010

This Book is Overdue

Yet another new book to add to the pile! Marilyn Johnson's This Book is Overdue! argues for the vital importance of libraries in the digital age and their role in preserving freedom of expression.

The following is courtesy of the publisher:

"In This Book is Overdue!, acclaimed author Marilyn Johnson celebrates libraries and librarians, and, as she did in her popular first book, The Dead Beat, discovers offbeat and eloquent characters in the quietest corners. In defiance of doomsayers, Johnson finds librarians more vital and necessary than ever, as they fuse the tools of the digital age with love for the written word and the enduring values of truth, service to all, and free speech. This Book Is Overdue! is a romp through the ranks of information professionals who organize our messy world and offer old-fashioned human help through the maze.'

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Edmonton Food Bank's Expressions of Hunger Campaign

In order to raise awareness about Edmontonians struggling with hunger and inadequate nourishment, the Edmonton Food Bank has started up a new interactive photo and literary contest called Expressions of Hunger.

More detailed information is as follows:

"Expressions of Hunger is a photo, poetry and short prose contest focusing on five elements or categories – physical, emotional, mental, spiritual and environmental. The contest will run until March 31, 2010. In April 2010, the photos will be posted online where people can vote for the top three images, poetry and short prose in the five categories. Winners will be notified on May 3, 2010.

The selected three winners in each of the five hunger categories will be showcased at Edmonton City Hall from National Hunger Awareness Day on June 1 until June 4, 2010, The Carrot Community Arts Coffeehouse from June 7 to 23, 2010 and exhibited during the Works Festival of Art and Design at the Nina Haggerty Centre for the Arts from June 25 to July 7, 2010."

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Banned Books Cafe Tomorrow

More Freedom to Read Week Fun!

Come on down to the Stanley A. Milner branch of the Edmonton Public Library for a Banned Books Cafe where you can celebrate your freedom to read, play, think, view, and listen!

Everyone is welcome to share papers they have written or projects they have done on intellectual freedom, or read excerpts from challenged books (there will be selections available, or you can bring your own). Dr. Toni Samek from the U of A's School of Library and Information Studies will be present to ignite the fire of intellectual freedom advocacy in all attendees.

In preparation, perhaps we should all take another look at the Canadian Library Association's Statement on Intellectual Freedom:

"Canadian Library Association / Association canadienne des bibliothèques Position Statement on Intellectual Freedom

Approved by Executive Council ~ June 27, 1974; Amended November 17, 1983; and November 18, 1985

All persons in Canada have the fundamental right, as embodied in the nation's Bill of Rights and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, to have access to all expressions of knowledge, creativity and intellectual activity, and to express their thoughts publicly. This right to intellectual freedom, under the law, is essential to the health and development of Canadian society.

Libraries have a basic responsibility for the development and maintenance of intellectual freedom.

It is the responsibility of libraries to guarantee and facilitate access to all expressions of knowledge and intellectual activity, including those which some elements of society may consider to be unconventional, unpopular or unacceptable. To this end, libraries shall acquire and make available the widest variety of materials.

It is the responsibility of libraries to guarantee the right of free expression by making available all the library's public facilities and services to all individuals and groups who need them.

Libraries should resist all efforts to limit the exercise of these responsibilities while recognizing the right of criticism by individuals and groups.

Both employees and employers in libraries have a duty, in addition to their institutional responsibilities, to uphold these principles."

Thanks for reading!


hope to see you there and at the Freedom Ball at the AGA on Saturday,


image courtesy of Melbourne Public Library:

Banned Books in the Wild

As part of Freedom to Read Week festivities, the Canadian Library Association Student Chapter and FLIF have released 12 banned or challenged books "into the wild" and are tracking them with Book Crossing. Among gems you might find sitting on a bus seat or in a certain downtown mall are Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five and Pullman's Golden Compass. This initiative is happening nation-wide as part of a communal mission to promote and protect our freedom to read in Canada.

The following is courtesy of

"Most Canadians probably don't even realize that on their own shelves sit challenged books. During Freedom to Read Week, your mission is to release challenged books all across Canada — on park benches, in coffee shops and in schools — as a way to mimic how challenged books are passed around, and to spread the word about challenged and banned books in Canada.

The Freedom of Expression Committee invites you to find a title you care about from our list of challenged literature and release it into your community. Perhaps your book will be picked up by someone in your community or maybe even by a foreign exchange student who will release it in another country — that's the beauty of this project and our hope for your freed book."

Keep an eye out, and register your captured book if you find one!

Happy FTRW,


Sunday, February 21, 2010

GELA Prison Project Meeting

The next general meeting of the GELA Prison Library and Reintegration committee will be held: Thursday, February 25th at 5:30 pm at Henderson Hall at the University of Alberta.

For those of you unfamiliar with Henderson Hall - you can access it from the Rutherford South Atrium entrance at the University of Alberta. There is some street metered parking as well as surface lots (rates drop after 4:30 pm)

Agenda items include:

* reports from subcommittees:

1. bookclub,
2. storybook,
3. CLA presentation,
4. bookdrive (wish list etc)

* technological literacy for the women
* fundraising ideas

See you there,


GELA Women's Prison Inmate Wishlist

The Greater Edmonton Library Associations Women's Prison and Reintegration Subcommittee has released February's inmate wishlist for their library. If you would like to donate any of these materials, you can use the FLIF/CLA corner in the student lounge or contact us via this blog to coordinate a pick-up date. Thanks!


Anne of Green Gables (series)- Lucy Maud Montgomery

Children of the Lamp(series) - P.B. Kerr.

Just Another Indian - Warren Goulding

Man's Search for Meaning - Viktor Frankl
- John Grisham

Pyrates (series) - Chris Archer

Shattered Silence - Melissa G. Moore

Twilight Series (especially Breaking Dawn) - Stephanie Meyer

Type Talk - Janet M. Thuesen and Otto Kroeger

Under the Dome - Stephen King

Anything about (topic)

Aboriginal poetry

Atlas (large world atlas)

Book of quotations

Books on CD (fiction/nonfiction)


Calming/Inspirational books (with serene pictures

Craft Books - Knitting, quilting, crochet

Crossword puzzle books


Hobby/ Craft Magazines

Language Instruction (Any languages, esp. Italian and Arabic)


Poetry anthologies

Traditional Aboriginal Medicine

Vietnamese fiction and nonfiction


Books by:

Ellen Hawkin

S.E Hinton

Alexander Pushkin


National Geographic, June 1985 (Sharbat Gula edition)

Current High School- Chemistry, Physics, Biology text books

Saturday, February 20, 2010

"The Wisdom and Wit of an Irregular Library Regular"

The New York Times' City Room blog ran this story yesterday about "an irregular library regular" - a homeless man. Is it still news that libraries are public spaces that may be used by all? Is it news that homeless people like reading too? These articles show up with incredible regularity - you'd think people would get used to the fact that libraries welcome and attract people from diverse backgrounds. Make sure to read the comments for more "us versus them"-ism....

"Perhaps the most regular visitor to the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts is Greg Sloane, who can be seen nearly every day among the dancers, musicians, actors and culture-mongers who flock to this gem at Lincoln Center.

Mr. Sloane, 62, is not from the School of American Ballet or the Juilliard School or any other esteemed arts institution nearby, but he does excel at his own particular performing art: survival in New York City without a home.

It is a pursuit that involves seeking a roof, a chair and some heat, maybe something clean to lean on. And this is where the library comes in. After a wash-up and shave in the bathroom, he might peruse the 12,000 titles in the library’s Reserve Film and Video Collection and select something to watch. Or perhaps he will select a recording and settle in for the day to culture himself."

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Freedom of Expression Champ - Dr. Toni Samek!

National Freedom of Expression Committee, of which Dr. Toni Samek is a member, wins the Les Fowlie Intellectual Freedom Award

This year's winner of the Les Fowlie Intellectual Freedom Award is the Book and Periodical Council's Freedom of Expression Committee. On board the committee is U of A SLIS prof and intellectual freedom advocate Dr. Toni Samek, who has been tireless and enthusiastic in her promotion of freedom of expression. Congratulations! More details below courtesy of SLIS.

"The Book and Periodical Council (BPC) is this year's winner of the Les Fowlie Intellectual Freedom Award. The honour is awarded by the Ontario Library Association. The BPC earned the award because of the "tireless efforts" of its Freedom of Expression Committee “in promoting intellectual freedom for all Canadians" and "organizing the annual Freedom to Read Week," said Shelagh Paterson, Executive Director of the OLA.

The award is named after Mr. Les Fowlie, the former Chief Librarian of the Toronto Public Library and a staunch defender of Canadians' Intellectual Freedom. Fowlie was also a past member of the BPC's Freedom of Expression Committee. The OLA will present the award on February 26 in Toronto.

For more information about the Freedom of Expression Committee, please visit"

Friday, February 05, 2010

more books banned - brown bear, brown bear!

Just a quick link from the Huffington Post. Texas Educators mistakenly banned a children's picture book, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? because they confused its author, Bill Martin Jr., with Bill Martin, who wrote Ethical Marxism: The Categorical Imperative of Liberation.

"Embarrassing gaffs, sure. But what is the real fear here? The spread of Marxism among Texas' early reader population? A threat to capitalism?

Pat Hardy made the motion to ban Brown Bear, Brown Bear, citing that Bill Martin's work for adults contains "very strong critiques of capitalism and the American system."

I can see this being a compelling reason not to include Bill Martin's Ethical Marxism on the curriculum list for elementary school children in Texas -- the more compelling reason being that of reading level -- but Ethical Marxism was not the book under consideration. Brown Bear was."

Take a look at the details here.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

FLIF/CLA/Legal Resource Centre on CJSR's Liquid Chatter TONIGHT!

Tune in to CJSR FM, the University of Alberta's campus radio station, TONIGHT at midnight!

Liquid Chatter will be having an open discussion about freedom of expression, intellectual freedom, and Freedom To Read Week featuring our very own Madelaine, the Canadian Library Association Student Chapter's Jocie, and Tanya from the Legal Resource Centre. Make sure you're stationed in front of your stereo/computer from midnight to 1:30 a.m. tonight to find out more about banned books and intellectual freedom in Alberta from some of the brightest up and comers in our library community.

Have a blast and good luck guys - we're looking forward to tuning in!