Saturday, September 29, 2012

Second UofR Reads Out

Armacost Library, Campus Diversity & Inclusion, Residence Life & Housing, and Sigma Tau Delta (International English Honor Society, Upsilon Alpha Chapter, University of Redlands) are co-sponsoring the 2nd UofR Reads Out event at Hunsaker Plaza on Wednesday, October 3, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Readers from across our University of Redlands campus community will be marking Banned Books Week 2012 and celebrating our freedom to read and express by reading from reader-selected banned and challenged books.

Come support our readers by listening or being a reader yourself. We look forward to seeing you there.

Friday, September 28, 2012

October is National Information Literacy Awareness Month

The National Forum on Information Literacy (NFIL), Credo Reference, and Libraries Thriving have joined forces to raise awareness of information literacy as a core, necessary concept in today's information-rich world.

From the NFIL website:
October is National Information Literacy Awareness month. In today's digital world, people who are information literate know how to find, access, and critically evaluate information to improve their health, their environment, their education and workplace performance.... Having that skill set empowers them to interpret and make informed decisions about their lives, in essence, taking responsibility for their own welfare and that of their nation.
This year, NFIL, Credo Reference and Libraries Thriving are holding a campaign that seeks official state support and recognition of information literacy. California is among the states currently drafting a gubernatorial proclamation.

Armacost Library recognizes the need for information literacy. We are very happy to support this effort!

For more information, please explore NFIL's website and view their campaign's participation tutorial.

Monday, September 10, 2012

"..he who destroys a good Book, kills reason itself..."

From September 1 to October 31, 2012, Armacost Library is holding an Intellectual Freedom Blogathon featuring posts on topics concerning censorship, the freedom to read, view, and express, and the connection these various freedoms have to individual life experiences and the state of society. The following essay is part of the Armacost Library Intellectual Freedom (ALIF) Blogathon.

Oliver Cromwell and John Milton
Source: Bridgeman Art Library

How can ideas flourish if they are never tested? The English poet John Milton passionately defended this core principle of intellectual freedom over three hundred and fifty years ago in one of his most enduring essays.

Milton in his thirties was still decades away from realizing his dream of an English epic poem to rival the Greek poetry he idolized from his youth, yet rhetorically mature, thanks to his formal education at Cambridge, followed by travel throughout Europe and self-directed studies. As a man of learning he considered it his responsibility to add his voice to the great political issues of his day: what variations of religious beliefs are to be tolerated? Does the church have the right to use the structures of political power to support itself? How should government strike a balance between the king's right to govern and the people's faculties of rational choice? Milton expressed his views by writing and publishing pamphlets rich with classical allusions and figurative language; opposing writers would answer back in their own pamphlets. Milton and his critics were equally quick to resort to biting humor and personal attacks.

In 1643, Milton drew controversy with his Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce, in which he argued that divorce laws should be expanded to allow divorces on the basis of personal incompatibility. The English Parliament ordered that his book be censored under a recently passed law that gave it the right to inspect books for offensive content prior to publication. Milton responded by addressing his next pamphlet, Aeropagitica, directly to Parliament the following year. Under the guise of advising Parliament how best to govern, Milton argued, in one scholar's summary,
that only reading of all kinds, forcing the continuous, free, and active choice between good and evil, will allow the good to advance in virtue and truth to conquer error, thereby producing radical citizens with a developed Protestant conscience and a classical sense of civic duty. Milton may be the first to address directly the issue of how to construct a liberty-loving republican citizenry who will support radical reform. (Lewalski 191) 
Milton saw nothing less than the life and death of the English nation at stake in the abridgment of intellectual freedom. As he put it, "as good almost kill a man as kill a good book; who kills a man kills a reasonable creature, God's image, but he who destroys a good book, kills reason itself." For Milton, society could only progress on the basis of healthy ideas tested through public debate.

Book censorship also did injustice to the individual's right to learn and refine their individual values through encounters with competing beliefs. "I cannot praise a fugitive and cloistered virtue," Milton wrote, "unexercised and unbreathed, that never sallies out and sees her adversary, but slinks out of the race..." The concept of conflict between innocence and (potentially corrupting) experience, between good and evil would recur famously in Milton's epic Paradise Lost, in which he dramatizes the fall of Adam and Eve as an unfortunate consequence of their God-given capacity for rationality and choice.

Milton experienced consequences of his own for his controversial positions. In the first years after the English Civil Wars, when dissident leaders led an overthrow of King Charles, ultimately executing him in 1649, Milton enthusiastically supported the new Parliament and was rewarded with an official position as a diplomat. Amid his new duties, he found time to continue his writing, defending the new government against criticism by supporters of the monarchy and their allies abroad. This left him in a vulnerable position when the Parliament finally crumbled in 1660 and royalists proclaimed Charles II King of England. High-profile leaders    who had brought about the death of Charles I were executed, and Milton himself was briefly imprisoned and spared further punishment only by the appeal of others.

What does the story of Aeropagitica have to say to us, living centuries later under a different form of government halfway around the world? One way to see this work is as a product of the back-and-forth interchange of ideas necessary for government by free individuals. We could also look at it as a reminder of the costs that often come with taking a stand on an issue we care about. And it is one of the most enduring expressions of the value of the individual's right to take responsibility for their own learning.

Sanjeet Mann
Arts & Electronic Resources Librarian, Armacost Library

Further Reading

"Cromwell and Milton" (2008). In The Bridgeman Art Library Archive. Retrieved from http://0-
Festa, Thomas (2006). "John Milton." Oxford Encyclopedia of British Literature, ed. David Scott
        Kastan. Oxford: Oxford University Press. REF PR 19.O95 2006
Lewalski, Barbara (2002). The Life of John Milton. Oxford: Blackwell. PR 3581.L45 2002
Milton, John (1959 [1643]). Complete Prose Works. New Haven: Yale University Press. PR 3569.W6

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Alterations, Little by Little

From September 1 to October 31, 2012, Armacost Library is holding an Intellectual Freedom Blogathon featuring posts on topics concerning censorship, the freedom to read, view, and express, and the connection these various freedoms have to individual life experiences and the state of society. The following essay is part of the Armacost Library Intellectual Freedom (ALIF) Blogathon. 
When discussing preserving Intellectual Freedom, often the first thing that comes to mind is the right to access information privately, unencumbered by restrictions or bans.

"When the flame of the sulphur splinters Nookd"
Barnes & Noble’s Nook incident, in which the word "kindle" was replaced with the word  "nook" throughout the e-text of War and Peace, is also a violation of intellectual freedom, albeit an advertising mishap. Though this may have been an innocent enough attempt at advertising, changing the text in a published work can be detrimental to the integrity of a library collection.

In 2011, the publisher New South Books decided to produce an edition of Huckleberry Finn that eliminated or changed racial terms into an alternate word than the one used in the original work.

This form of censorship is another instance in which it is necessary for librarians to ensure library patrons’ rights are not violated via censorship through omission or alteration of original texts or works. 

Stephanie Milner
Armacost Library Intern, Summer & Fall 2012
Student, San Jose State University School of Library & Information Science

Friday, September 07, 2012

Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations (IDIC)

Image icon of person with open book. Text reads I FREE.
From September 1 to October 31, 2012, Armacost Library is holding an Intellectual Freedom Blogathon featuring posts on topics concerning censorship, the freedom to read, view, and express, and the connection these various freedoms have to individual life experiences and the state of society. The following essay is part of the Armacost Library Intellectual Freedom (ALIF) Blogathon.

By now there have been many blog posts on intellectual freedom and I will not need to reiterate the definitions that have been said. For me intellectual freedom is not in essence about banning books or censorship; those are important aspects but not the essence. For me intellectual freedom is about intellectual diversity and the fitness of a society. A society that has a diverse set of intellects is a more fit society. This society can grow and produce progeny for many years. It can do this because the society contains a plethora of intellects which are able to fill future niches and address many different issues. Thus a society that has intellectual diversity is a society that is most capable to survive and adapt when there is a drastic change in the environment.  

Image of Star Trek IDIC symbol
image from WikiMedia Commons
It is here that I would like to bring in my favorite show, Star Trek. In the show the Vulcans have a saying, “Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations” (IDIC). This saying is one of the key aspects of Vulcan philosophy and acknowledges the many variables in the universe. IDIC recognizes that the sheer complexity of the universe is something unquantifiable, yet it can be conceptualized. The universe is so vast with so many ‘things’ in it, it has reached the point of infinite.

IDIC can be broken down quite easily into its two parts and related to intellectual freedom. The first part, Infinite Diversity, relates to the source material. This material can be: books, movies, games, technology, paintings, papers, or any other ‘thing’ made. To reach infinite diversity we must have a vast array of diverse materials uncensored and produced free of intrusive meddling. The true artist’s intended material must be produced. Every edit performed to fit a rating system or to conform to societal morals reduces the diversity of material. Taking away the restraints of editing censorship will increase the amount of source material to the infinite.

Infinite Combinations is related to the distribution and availability of the material. To have these combinations the material must be available to reach other minds. In this manner the distribution cannot be censored or hindered. A store refusing to sell a book because of its subject matter is an equal hindrance to a publisher editing out the same questionable content. One cannot know how a work created will affect a person or a population. One person could see the material and combine it with their personal history or other materials they have read in a synergetic manner to create something new and world changing. When distribution is censored the possibilities of these infinite combinations reduce. 

When materials are both free of editing and distribution censorship we reach the possibility of IDIC. A society that embraces IDIC will then reach a point where the intellectual diversity of the society reaches infinite. As this diversity reaches infinite the society’s fitness will also reach infinite.

Refresher information on IDIC was retrieved from Memory Alpha, one of the leading Star Trek wikis.

Iyan Sandri, Class of 2008
Computer Lab Coordinator
Information Technology Services, University of Redlands
Author of To the Victors, (c) 2010

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Fanning the Embers of Knowledge

From September 1 to October 31, 2012, Armacost Library is holding an Intellectual Freedom Blogathon featuring posts on topics concerning censorship, the freedom to read, view, and express, and the connection these various freedoms have to individual life experiences and the state of society. The following essay is part of the Armacost Library Intellectual Freedom (ALIF) Blogathon. 

All libraries do the first aspect of facilitation, providing access.... Where too many libraries fall short is in how they: see knowledge as a thing, overemphasize access, and support consuming knowledge instead of creating it. If our libraries are going to support our communities in the future, they must do a better job across the spectrum. 
~ R. David Lankes, 2012, Expect More: Demanding Better Libraries for Today's Complex World, p. 43

Lately I've been asking myself why I chose to be an academic librarian. This navel-gazing is not just because my faculty review dossier, including a reflective evaluation piece, is due in a few weeks. I've been asking myself this question mostly because I have been feeling a little...lost in the dark. I entered library school thinking that what I was studying to become, the profession I was seeking to be a part of, made a difference in the world. I still hold this opinion. Well, I cling to it. The daily tasks of emailing, organizing, meeting, reviewing, and scheduling have made me lose sight of what drew me to academic librarianship in the first place.

Finding my professional path
While thinking about my professional purpose as an academic librarian, I settled on Armacost Library's own organizational vision statement. Simply, it affirms intellectual freedom as our reason for being, our collective purpose, our heartfire. Intellectual freedom, in brief, encompasses two parts -- the freedom to access others' ideas and the freedom to express one's own. Both are important and rely greatly on the other. The freedom to access and to express, germane elements of intellectual freedom, are necessary conditions in a world where knowledge is dynamic, powerful, and constructed in the hearts and minds of people.

Thinking about the active nature of knowledge presents big challenges. Questions abound. If reading about some things only provides initial steps toward learning, how do we go further, especially with our shelves and shelves of printed books? Our continuous searching for and licensing of more, increasingly expensive, databases and digital content? How can we nurture active learning spaces, feed the carefully tended intellectual flames throughout the University community? These are some questions we are currently grappling with at Armacost Library in order to better facilitate knowledge creation within our communities.

Armacost Library Intellectual Freedom (ALIF) Blogathon is a small spark of light. It does not offer comprehensive answers or assume final solutions. But it does open up a part of our library online space for wider conversation.

How can Armacost Library inflame the embers of your knowledge creation?

Melissa Cardenas-Dow
Outreach/Behavioral Sciences Librarian
Armacost Library, University of Redlands
melissa_cardenasdow (a) redlands (dot) edu

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Introducing our new librarian

Sally Romero
Armacost Library is very pleased to have Sally Romero, Visiting Reference/Instruction Librarian, join us. Please give her a warm Redlands welcome!

Below are some introductory words from Sally:

Sally Romero comes to the University of Redlands after nearly nine years in public libraries.  Her previous position was with the County of Los Angeles Public Library where she started since her junior year in high school.  While working full-time for the County of Los Angeles Public Library she also worked as an Adjunct Faculty Librarian for Chaffey College.  Born and raised in Southern California and unable to cut the umbilical cord from her family, she attended and graduated from California State UniversityFullerton in 2008 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications with an emphasis in Advertising.  Sally graduated with her Master’s in Library and Information Science from San Jose State University in 2011.  However, she never set foot on the San Jose State campus until commencement day. 

Fun facts: Sally admits that while working in Children Services for public libraries she loved to run ongoing Pajama Storytimes so she could wear her pajamas at work.  While growing up, Sally’s grandmother spoke both Spanish and Mayan to her (Sally thought it was purely Spanish).  To this day, Sally confuses certain Mayan words for Spanish.  She loves to visit her parents' hometown in the Yucatan Peninsula and she never gets tired of visiting the pyramids and exploring different cenotes (groundwater caves).