Librarians As Guardians of Freedom / Literary Light Burns Bright / Understanding the Other Side / Atwood at Hay

May 31, 2006

Librarians As Guardians of Freedom
Unfortunately too many of us think of librarians as boring individuals protecting the sanctity of the Dewey decimal system, which few libraries use any longer. In Connecticut, they became the champions of freedom—being the first individuals to legally challenge the reach of the USA Patriot Act. These four librarians refused to reveal their patrons' book borrowing habits, as requested by federal authorities. They challenged the law when no other organization—with more the means—found the nerve to do the same. They speak out in a New York Times article by Alison Leigh Cowan.

Literary Light Burns Bright
“I'm poor, but when my lights go out, my soul still soars.” Those are the words of Felton Williamson of Brooklyn as noted by Peter Applebome in his essay “World Apart, but Bound in Softcover.” Williamson's word are just a dozen of the thousands in a new book of writing by adolescents from Brooklyn and Westchester. It's entitled On My Mind: Student Writings from Somers and Brooklyn, New York, published by the Rotary Club of Somers and Billy Collins, former U.S. Poet laureate. And in case you think you have it tough as a writer, read the story of Jessica Atkinson as written by Michael Winerip.

Understanding the Other Side
I contend that writers write about what cannot be viscerally understood, such as the hatred that Muslim believes have for the United States. John Updike tells why he tackled just that topic in his latest novel.

Atwood at Hay
“It was a dark and stormy week. Local legend had it that it had been raining for 40 days and 40 nights, and on the Friday morning when I arrived with my spouse, Graeme Gibson, it hadn't stopped.” That's Margaret Atwood's take on the start of the Hay Festival in the Guardian.

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