Archive for September, 2010

Celebrating the Freedom to Read

September 25-October 2, 2010

Banned Book WeekIt’s the end of a long day.  You’ve only got one more errand before you get home to your family, the dinner table, and the homework routine.  You pull into the front parking lot of the public library, jog up the front steps and head for the online public library catalog.  In one hand, you’ve got your library card and in the other hand, your daughter’s required reading list from school.

Earlier in the day, you scanned the list and were pleased to see some of your favorite classics.  You key in To Kill A Mockingbird and wait for the search results.  You notice something odd.  Every copy in the library system has been withdrawn.  Well, books do wear out and the library’s had a lot of budget cuts, so you move to the next book on the list, Beloved by Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison.  To your frustration, all fourteen copies listed in the catalog have been marked withdrawn.  You begin to move through the list of titles more quickly.  Of Mice and Men.  All copies withdrawn.  The Great Gatsby, Native Son, Brideshead Revisited, The Lord of the Flies  — all withdrawn.

Frustrated, you flag down a librarian who regretfully explains to you that, due to the efforts of a local citizens group, Decent People United Against Smut, these classics as well as others have been removed from the library’s collection.

Think For Yourself--and Let Others Do the Same!Orwellian nightmare?  Not if some Americans had their way.  Each day, across the country, one of our most basic freedoms — the freedom to read — is in danger.  In communities large and small, censorship attempts every year threaten to undermine our First Amendment freedom to read.  The rights and protections of the First Amendment include children as well as adults.  While parents have the right — and the responsibility — to guide their own children’s reading, that right does not extend to other people’s children.

When we speak up to protect the right to read, we not only defend our individual right to free expression, we demonstrate tolerance and respect for opposing points of view.  And when we take action to preserve our precious freedoms, we become participants in the ongoing evolution of our democratic society.

Read Banned BooksVisit the library during September 25 to October 2, 2010 and celebrate your freedom to read during Banned Books Week.  Check out some of the  lists of books which have been challenged or banned  online and take one home, read it, and decide whether you like it or not.  Think for yourself and let others do the same!


ABBE Opens Digital Branch Library

ABBE Digital Branch Library

In September, the ABBE Regional Library will unveil its newest service: downloadable audiobooks, ebooks, and video, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week from the library’s website.   

Download Audiobooks, eBooks & VideosThis new service, powered by OverDrive, is free to ABBE patrons with a library card.   Patrons can browse the collection, check out with their cards, and download to PC, Mac, and many other mobile devices.  

To get started, patrons will need to download free software, available on the library’s website.   Titles can be enjoyed immediately or transferred to a variety of devices, include iPod, Sony Reader, and others.  Some audio titles can also be burned to CD to listen to on-the-go.   At the end of the lending period, the titles automatically expire.   There are no lending fees.

We’re able to offer this new service thanks to a federal Library Services and Technology grant, administered by the South Carolina State Library.  

When I began to discuss plans for the new service with staff, library board members, and Friends’ officers earlier this summer,  I was heartened by their enthusiastic response.  Based on these conversations, as well as comments received on the library’s website,  many members of our community are interested in or are actively making the shift to downloadable audio and electronic books.  That is certainly the case in other parts of the  country. 

Bestselling author Laura Lippman’s latest thriller,  I’d Know You Anywhere was released on August 17 and sold more e-book copies than physical hardcovers in its first five days of publication.   Some futurists are predicting e-books will capture 25% or more of the publishing market in the next two years.  I’m not sure how quickly that will happen but it is clear from these statistics we are in the midst of a sea change.  This fall, ABBE patrons can begin testing the waters.

Audiobooks, eBooks & Video 24/7


Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 15 other followers


ABBE Photo Gallery

Blog Stats

  • 3,389 hits