BULLETIN BOARDS & DISPLAY : Banned Books Week 2013!

     This post is quite tardy. The library has been very busy. But better late than never, right? Banned Books Week 2013 was September 22-28. I had the library all decorated to support intellectual freedom, and I did presentations about censorship and intellectual freedom for 6 eighth grade English classes. They were all very attentive and polite, and had great questions and participation. Their teacher had them all check out books that had been either banned or challenged, which made for some interesting research coming up with about 200 titles that fit the bill and were currently available in our library.
     She gave them an assignment to read their challenged/banned book and take a stance on whether they agreed or not with the book being challenged or banned, and why. Of course she leaned heavily toward influencing them on the side of intellectual freedom.
     I really liked how the teacher made it very clear in her paperwork for the students that banning a book means removing it from an entire community so that NO ONE has access to it.
     I felt it was totally worth the effort on her part and my part. I loved that the teacher wanted to do such a thorough exploration of a subject that's near and dear to my heart. It gave me the opportunity to talk about my own personal experience with censorship. It's great to see teachers who recognize how important it is to teach kids about the issue, and make sure they understand all the complexities of it. It's not simple or easy.
     I ended up having some great conversations with students regarding the reasons (so-called and real) why some people try to ban certain books. Sometimes it was difficult to find the info, which was also a nice research challenge. ;)
     Here are some pics of what I put up in the library for Banned Books Week, 2013.

There's that comic I drew a billion years ago when I worked in the junior high library...

Detail of the "Library Key"

I like this poster.

I like this poster, too. Those robots are cute AND open-minded.
     "Think for Yourself and Let Others Do the Same" poster available from ALA HERE.

BULLETIN BOARDS & DISPLAY : June is Gay & Lesbian Pride Month!

          OMG, this narwhale is totally freaked out about the final library due date of the year!  She's so worried that students won't clear their library and/or textbook fines until the last minute, creating a library traffic jam for poor Mr. Kovac!
The stunned, half-wild expression is what comes most naturally to me when I draw.  Why is that?
          Just to be different I papered the bulletin boards in the library (all 4 of them) with a charming combination of pink and blue/yellow stripes, accented with navy blue borders.  The Librarian came in and said, "Who's having a baby shower?"
          I snapped, "NOBODY is having a baby shower!  I just thought the pink and pastels would be sort of summery, and also gay, for Gay Pride Month."
On the left we have Gay Pride, on the right is Summer Reading
          I put this stuff up right before the weekend of Harvey Milk Day, which is May 22nd.  The first official Harvey Milk Day was last year, and I'd made this big poster with clip art I pulled off the internet and a picture of Harvey.  I like the slogan on the big white button that says, "If the fetus you save is gay, will you still fight for its rights?"
          Let's talk about the Gay Pride clown for a minute.  He's new this year.  I had made the conversation balloon last year for my June is Gay Pride Month bulletin board, and a squirrel was shouting, "Say it loud, say it proud!" But I don't know where the squirrel is now, so I had to draw a new loudmouth.
          I was thinking about the rainbow as a gay symbol, which I've never particularly liked because it's just so... well, GAY.  But then I thought about those Native American rainbow figures.  Dancers, warriors, whatever they are. 
Native American Rainbow person
           I thought I'd draw my own version of one of those, because that would seem clever, right?  It would allude to existing mythology, AND tie in with Gay Month.  Sort of.  But as you can see, my little rainbow guy came out looking nothing like the Native American rainbow icon.  Before I knew it, he had morphed into a sort of mean-looking clown.  I was a little concerned that "clown" imagery would be a poor choice for Gay Pride Month, but I left my clown on the board because I like him.  Despite his playful appearance, he looks like he would NOT take shit from anybody.  And that's a good message for the gay kids, right? 
There's that half-wild expression again, but with a touch of menace. Is the clown dangerous? If you aren't gay & proud, will there be consequences?
          The other three bulletin boards are not pictured because I haven't finished with them, yet.  As we careen closer to the end of the school year, I'll have less and less time & energy for that, so those other boards may end up with quick and ill-tempered slogans like, "See ya, wouldn't wanna be ya," or, "So long, suckas."

DAY OF THE DEAD : "Ofrenda" for Poe

     My friend Christine, the Art teacher, did all sorts of Day of the Dead decorating all over campus, and was kind enough to give us all the makings for an ofrenda for Edgar Allan Poe, complete with (plastic) skeletal remains.  She and her students are responsible for making all the cool stuff.  I assembled it on top of our graphic novels section.
Mr. Poe

      "Ofrendas are an essential part of the Day of the Dead celebrations. The word "ofrenda" means offering in Spanish. They are also called altares or altars, but they are not for worshiping.                
      Ofrendas are set up to remember and honor the memory of ancestors."
"Lenore" painted on the mysteriously squished side of his skull

I love the colorful tissue-paper flower garland
     When she was putting up all the decorations late Friday evening, she was on a ladder outside one of the classrooms and the ladder collapsed.  She felt into the wall and then dropped to the ground.  Her ankle is pretty f***ed up, she's sore all over, but at least we don't have to make an altar dedicated to HER memory.
     (I don't know why it is that we school employees tend to flaunt safety so much.  I don't even HAVE a ladder in the library, so I end up balancing precariously on book carts, or even stacking a little rolling library stool on top of a chair on top of a table to reach the higher bulletin boards.  We received a flyer by email a few weeks ago with the slogan, "A chair is not a ladder!" showing how to use a stepladder correctly to reach things, and reminding us to be very careful.  I tacked it to the wall in the back room and ignore it every day.)

Skulls, pictures of the deceased, offerings of food, candy, and drinking water, even flowers and ravens!
      She also did an altar dedicated to Frida Kahlo in the main office, and drew a unibrow on it.  Awesome, right?  And did you notice Mr. Poe has a mustache?  It's amazing it survived even after his skin and organs rotted away.  That is a seriously tough mustache.
      Mr. Poe is dressed in my own clothes, and it felt weird shoving his stiff, awkward limbs into my shirt and pants.  It felt sort of like dressing a child or an old person.  He was so uncooperative I had to pop his hands off and re-attach them after I got the sleeves on.  (I don't think you're allowed to do that with kids or old people.)