she’s such a geek

Are you a geek, and a writer, and a female? Why not submit an essay to a book called She’s Such a Geek, forthcoming from Seal Press next fall.

This anthology will celebrate women who have flourished in the male-dominated realms of technical and cultural arcana. We’re looking for a wide range of personal essays about the meaning of female nerdhood by women who are in love with genomics, obsessed with blogging, learned about sex from Dungeons and Dragons, and aren’t afraid to match wits with men or computers. The essays in She’s Such a Geek will explain what it means to be passionately engaged with technical or obscure topics-and how to deal with it when people tell you that your interests are weird, especially for a girl. This book aims to bust stereotypes of what it means to be a geek, as well as what it means to be female.

Thanks to pasta, you can read the full call for submissions. Thanks to Mitchell for forwarding it.

while supplies last. . .


certificate
Originally uploaded by newrambler.

(Gosh, this Flickr business is fun. . . .)

I don’t normally keep track of the books I read, although I keep meaning to. I didn’t manage to this summer, either, but in case you did and feel that your summer reading efforts have gone underappreciated, may I offer you this handsome certificate, complete with Latin motto, suitable for thumbtacking to an appropriate surface?

The end of summer reading seemed to coincide with a lot of vacations, and thus a number of kids never showed up to pick up their certificates. If you would like one, please send an e-mail indicating your name as you wish it to appear on the certificate and your snail mail address to lauracrossett [at] hailmail [dot] net. I can also fill in the number of books read, and any number of Book Bucks you want, though I’m afraid that at this point they’re about as useful as Confederate money in 1865.

New Orleans stories

I’ve never been to New Orleans, though, as I’ve written elsewhere, I feel connected to it by way of water and the imagination. The closest I come to a real connection is this:

In high school I knew a guy named Jamie Schweser. He was a senior at one of the town’s high schools when I was a freshman at another, and I met him via the anti-war movement–the “first” Gulf War happened that year. He went on to do various things–he was involved with a pirate radio station and public access television and all kinds of activism, and he co-wrote a book called Tales of a Punk Rock Nothing with Abram Shalom Himelstein. Some time in the late 1990s or early 2000s, they both moved down to New Orleans and got active down there, and I’d get an occasional e-mail from Jamie. I haven’t heard from him in years. Just a few weeks ago, though, I read a piece in Publisher’s Weekly [sorry; only the abstract is available without a subscription] about what Abram Himelstein is up to now: working with kids in New Orleans on the Neighborhood Story Project, an oral history project, a writing workshop, and now, five books, all written by teenagers. I meant to write about this sooner; now, of course, one can’t send mail to or from New Orleans, and so you can’t order the books.

The other day, I got this e-mail of another New Orleans story from Ted Glick, via the Independent Progressive Politics Network mailing list:

One of the better pieces I’ve seen.Ted

—– Original Message —–
Sent: Friday, September 02, 2005 4:42 PM
Subject: Notes From Inside New Orleans

Thanks to all the loved ones and long-lost friends for your sweet notes of concern, offers of housing
and support, etc. Yes, I stayed through the storm and aftermath. I’m fine – much better off than most of
my brother and sister hurricane survivors. Below is my attempt to relay some of what I’ve seen these
last few days.

Please Forward

Notes From Inside New Orleans
by Jordan Flaherty
Friday, September 2, 2005

I just left New Orleans a couple hours ago. I traveled from the apartment I was staying in by boat to a
helicopter to a refugee camp. If anyone wants to examine the attitude of federal and state officials
towards the victims of hurricane Katrina, I advise you to visit one of the refugee camps.

In the refugee camp I just left, on the I-10 freeway near Causeway, thousands of people (at least 90%
black and poor) stood and squatted in mud and trash behind metal barricades, under an unforgiving
sun, with heavily armed soldiers standing guard over them. When a bus would come through, it
would stop at a random spot, state police would open a gap in one of the barricades, and people
would rush for the bus, with no information given about where the bus was going. Once inside (we
were told) evacuees would be told where the bus was taking them – Baton Rouge, Houston,
Arkansas, Dallas, or other locations. I was told that if you boarded a bus bound for Arkansas (for
example), even people with family and a place to stay in Baton Rouge would not be allowed to get
out of the bus as it passed through Baton Rouge. You had no choice but to go to the shelter in
Arkansas. If you had people willing to come to New Orleans to pick you up, they could not come
within 17 miles of the camp.

I traveled throughout the camp and spoke to Red Cross workers, Salvation Army workers, National
Guard, and state police, and although they were friendly, no one could give me any details on when
buses would arrive, how many, where they would go to, or any other information. I spoke to the
several teams of journalists nearby, and asked if any of them had been able to get any information
from any federal or state officials on any of these questions, and all of them, from Australian tv to local
Fox affiliates complained of an unorganized, non-communicative, mess. One cameraman told me “as
someone who’s been here in this camp for two days, the only information I can give you is this: get
out by nightfall. You don’t want to be here at night.”

There was also no visible attempt by any of those running the camp to set up any sort of transparent
and consistent system, for instance a line to get on buses, a way to register contact information or find
family members, special needs services for children and infirm, phone services, treatment for
possible disease exposure, nor even a single trash can.

To understand the dimensions of this tragedy, its important to look at New Orleans itself.

For those who have not lived in New Orleans, you have missed a incredible, glorious, vital, city. A
place with a culture and energy unlike anywhere else in the world. A 70% African-American city
where resistance to white supremacy has supported a generous, subversive and unique culture of
vivid beauty. From jazz, blues and hiphop, to secondlines, Mardi Gras Indians, Parades, Beads, Jazz
Funerals, and red beans and rice on Monday nights, New Orleans is a place of art and music and
dance and sexuality and liberation unlike anywhere else in the world.

It is a city of kindness and hospitality, where walking down the block can take two hours because you
stop and talk to someone on every porch, and where a community pulls together when someone is in
need. It is a city of extended families and social networks filling the gaps left by city, state and federal
governments that have abdicated their responsibility for the public welfare. It is a city where someone
you walk past on the street not only asks how you are, they wait for an answer.

It is also a city of exploitation and segregation and fear. The city of New Orleans has a population of
just over 500,000 and was expecting 300 murders this year, most of them centered on just a few,
overwhelmingly black, neighborhoods. Police have been quoted as saying that they don’t need to
search out the perpetrators, because usually a few days after a shooting, the attacker is shot in
revenge.

There is an atmosphere of intense hostility and distrust between much of Black New Orleans and the
N.O. Police Department. In recent months, officers have been accused of everything from drug
running to corruption to theft. In separate incidents, two New Orleans police officers were recently
charged with rape (while in uniform), and there have been several high profile police killings of
unarmed youth, including the murder of Jenard Thomas, which has inspired ongoing weekly protests
for several months.

The city has a 40% illiteracy rate, and over 50% of black ninth graders will not graduate in four years.
Louisiana spends on average $4,724 per child’s education and ranks 48th in the country for lowest
teacher salaries. The equivalent of more than two classrooms of young people drop out of Louisiana
schools every day and about 50,000 students are absent from school on any given day. Far too
many young black men from New Orleans end up enslaved in Angola Prison, a former slave
plantation where inmates still do manual farm labor, and over 90% of inmates eventually die in the
prison. It is a city where industry has left, and most remaining jobs are are low-paying, transient,
insecure jobs in the service economy.

Race has always been the undercurrent of Louisiana politics. This disaster is one that was
constructed out of racism, neglect and incompetence. Hurricane Katrina was the inevitable spark
igniting the gasoline of cruelty and corruption. From the neighborhoods left most at risk, to the
treatment of the refugees to the the media portrayal of the victims, this disaster is shaped by race.

Louisiana politics is famously corrupt, but with the tragedies of this week our political leaders have
defined a new level of incompetence. As hurricane Katrina approached, our Governor urged us to
“Pray the hurricane down” to a level two. Trapped in a building two days after the hurricane, we
tuned our battery-operated radio into local radio and tv stations, hoping for vital news, and were told
that our governor had called for a day of prayer. As rumors and panic began to rule, they was no
source of solid dependable information. Tuesday night, politicians and reporters said the water level
would rise another 12 feet – instead it stabilized. Rumors spread like wildfire, and the politicians and
media only made it worse.

While the rich escaped New Orleans, those with nowhere to go and no way to get there were left
behind. Adding salt to the wound, the local and national media have spent the last week demonizing
those left behind. As someone that loves New Orleans and the people in it, this is the part of this
tragedy that hurts me the most, and it hurts me deeply.

No sane person should classify someone who takes food from indefinitely closed stores in a
desperate, starving city as a “looter,” but that’s just what the media did over and over again. Sheriffs
and politicians talked of having troops protect stores instead of perform rescue operations.

Images of New Orleans’ hurricane-ravaged population were transformed into black, out-of-control,
criminals. As if taking a stereo from a store that will clearly be insured against loss is a greater crime
than the governmental neglect and incompetence that did billions of dollars of damage and
destroyed a city. This media focus is a tactic, just as the eighties focus on “welfare queens” and
“super-predators” obscured the simultaneous and much larger crimes of the Savings and Loan
scams and mass layoffs, the hyper-exploited people of New Orleans are being used as a scapegoat
to cover up much larger crimes.

City, state and national politicians are the real criminals here. Since at least the mid-1800s, its been
widely known the danger faced by flooding to New Orleans. The flood of 1927, which, like this
week’s events, was more about politics and racism than any kind of natural disaster, illustrated
exactly the danger faced. Yet government officials have consistently refused to spend the money to
protect this poor, overwhelmingly black, city. While FEMA and others warned of the urgent impending
danger to New Orleans and put forward proposals for funding to reinforce and protect the city, the
Bush administration, in every year since 2001, has cut or refused to fund New Orleans flood control,
and ignored scientists warnings of increased hurricanes as a result of global warming. And, as the
dangers rose with the floodlines, the lack of coordinated response dramatized vividly the callous
disregard of our elected leaders.

The aftermath from the 1927 flood helped shape the elections of both a US President and a
Governor, and ushered in the southern populist politics of Huey Long.

In the coming months, billions of dollars will likely flood into New Orleans. This money can either be
spent to usher in a “New Deal” for the city, with public investment, creation of stable union jobs, new
schools, cultural programs and housing restoration, or the city can be “rebuilt and revitalized” to a
shell of its former self, with newer hotels, more casinos, and with chain stores and theme parks
replacing the former neighborhoods, cultural centers and corner jazz clubs.

Long before Katrina, New Orleans was hit by a hurricane of poverty, racism, disinvestment,
deindustrialization and corruption. Simply the damage from this pre-Katrina hurricane will take
billions to repair.

Now that the money is flowing in, and the world’s eyes are focused on Katrina, its vital that
progressive-minded people take this opportunity to fight for a rebuilding with justice. New Orleans is
a special place, and we need to fight for its rebirth.

———————————————–
Jordan Flaherty is a union organizer and an editor of Left Turn Magazine (www.leftturn.org). He is not
planning on moving out of New Orleans.
———————————————–

Below are some small, grassroots and New Orleans-based resources, organizations and institutions
that will need your support in the coming months.

Social Justice:
www.jjpl.org
www.iftheycanlearn.org
www.nolaps.org
www.thepeoplesinstitute.org/
www.criticalresistance.org/index.php?name=crno_home

Cultural Resources:
www.backstreetculturalmuseum.com
www.ashecac.org/
http://198.66.50.128/gallery/
www.nolahumanrights.org
http://www.freewebs.com/ironrail/
http://www.girlgangproductions.com/

Current Info and Resources:
http://neworleans.craigslist.org/about/help/katrina_cl.html

I don’t imagine that Abram Himelstein, or Jamie Schweser, if he’s still there, are planning to move out of New Orleans either. I hope someday I’ll get to see their city. And I hope that they, and the people they know, are safe.

the anxiety of influence

Of all the jobs I do at the library, the most thrilling and frightening by far are buying and weeding books. I am in charge of all the YA books, which live (except for the nonfiction, which, when it is no longer new, gets interfiled with adult nonfiction) in two long shelves tucked in the back corner of the adult room. They are so hidden that often when I take people to find a book back there, they are surprised to learn that there is a YA section.

Because we don’t place a book order in August, I have now had over a month to fiddle with my September order. It is rare that a day goes by that I don’t take something out, only to put it back in the next day. I can spend a good deal of time worrying about the books, worrying about what kind of service I can possibly be providing to our patrons if I neglect one of them in favor of another, wondering what influence my choices will have on the people who rely on the library. For instance, the other day, courtesy of A Wandering Eyre, I happened upon this piece on the censoring of YA books from Bookslut, which praises Perfect, a novel by Natasha Friend. It was published last year and has been the subject of some controversy, chiefly, it seems, because it is about a girl who has bulimia, and it is quite graphic in its descriptions of how to become bulimic. Of the eight libraries in our system, five own it, but my library is not among them.
Now, I am all for the stocking of banned books, particularly when (as is the case with this one) they have gotten good reviews and they seem to be popular (three of the five copies in the system are out right now, and one was only just returned). I add this book to my order every few days, and then periodically I take it out, not because of the content (although I will admit that I am squeamish about eating disorders) but because, usually, there’s a newer book that I want to buy instead.

After all, the book is available in our system, I tell myself. But it’s not available in our library, says the other little voice in my head, and the other libraries aren’t anywhere near ours. If kids don’t see it here, they’re not likely to find it. But they can find it through the catalog. How the hell are they going to know to look for it in the catalog? It’s not like there are lot of high quality bookstores in Franklin Park, IL (yes, that third one you see on the list is an adult bookstore–actually, there’s another adult bookstore that doesn’t show up here that’s even closer). But I have to make choices, and if I buy this, I can’t buy a new book that might be equally important!

Well. You see how that goes.

The other day, in another fit of anxiety, I decided to do a little quasi-scientific experiment with my book order. I’ve been reading lately about the paucity of books (especially children’s and young adult books) that appeal to males and how this could be part of the reason that guys don’t read. I went through my order and classified each book, to the best of my ability, as appealing more to females, more to males, or equally to both. The results (excluding half a dozen graphic novels, which were requested by a guy but which I really don’t know where to place):

  • everyone–20
  • females–20
  • males–7

Oh dear. (And that, of course, provides another argument for not buying Perfect, which is likely to appeal only to girls).

But if the process of buying books is sometimes fraught, it pales in comparison to the process of weeding them. There are moments when weeding is satisfying. Clearing out beaten up paperbacks by R.L. Stine is a fine feeling. But more often than not, weeding is difficult, frustrating, and sometimes painful. As Rick Roche recently wrote (on both buying and weeding), “I have to accept the reality that I can not perfectly predict which books will be well read and buy the potentially hot books and shift other books to make a little more room.” I hate that.

I also hate it because I was a reader of obscure books when I was a child. At my elementary school, which was filled with the offspring of doctors, lawyers, and professors, there were lengthy waiting lists for every new book that came it. Because I did not want to wait three months to read a book, and because I didn’t know how to get on the waiting list anyway and was too shy to ask, I prowled the stacks to find the oldest, most abandoned books I could. My ideal was to find a book that hadn’t been checked out since before I was born. I read many wonderful books this way–Octagon Magic by Andre Norton and Quest in the Desert by Roy Chapman Andrews and many more. In high school, I found The Lady’s not For Burning, which had not been checked out since 1972. I checked it out nearly once a trimester for the remainder of my time there; recently, I checked the catalog to see if it was still there, and wrote to the librarian, who confirmed said that yes, the last checkouts dated from the early ’90s–my last few years in high school. (Christopher Fry, the author, died only recently. I hadn’t realized he was still alive. I would have written him a letter–the people who help get you through high school deserve to be thanked). Every time I get rid of a book, I can’t help but wonder if the book I’m tossing is one of these, if it’s a book that’s meant to be found by someone at this very library, if it’s somehow going to save even a small portion of a person’s life, and if I am interfering in God’s great plan. This is the sort of thing that can keep you up at night.

The last best word on the subject of keeping odd (albeit, in this case, well-circulating) books in libraries, though, comes from Annie Dillard, in An American Childhood. She writes about growing up in Pittsburgh in the 1950s and visiting the Homewood branch of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh every week and what she learned from borrowing books there:

The Field Book of Ponds and Streams was a shocker from beginning to end. The greatest shock came at the end. . . . When I checked out The Field Book of Ponds and Streams for the second time, I noticed the book’s card. It was almost full. There were numbers on both sides. My hearty author and I were not alone in the world, after all. With us, and sharing our enthusiasm for dragonfly larvae and single-celled plants, were, apparently, many Negro adults.
Who were these people? Had they, in Pittsburgh’s Homewood section, found ponds? Had they found streams? At home, I read the book again; I studied the drawings; I reread Chapter 3; then I settled in to study the due-date slip. People read this book in every season. Seven or eight people were reading this book every year, even during the war. . . . The people of Homewood, some of whom lived in visible poverty, on crowded streets among burned-out houses–they dreamed of ponds and streams.

I miss the days when you could see the date stamps on your library book. I learned a great deal from them. When I stand now in the aisle, computer printout of circ records in hand, trying to decide what goes and what stays, I can only hope that I am doing justice to the worlds that reside on the shelves. The library is a growing organism, but that means, unless you have unlimited amounts of space, that it is also a dying one.

what for and for what?

My mother, Judith Crossett, is a geriatric psychiatrist (or, as we usually put it, she treats old crazy people). She works at the University of Iowa, where she treats patients and also teaches in the medical school. A few weeks ago she was telling me about the first thing she teaches any medical student or resident working with her.

When someone asks you for a competency test, the first thing you ask them is competency for what?

Do they mean is this person competent to choose chocolate or vanilla ice cream? Do they mean competent to drive a car? Do they mean competent to make decisions about being committed to the hospital? These are all very different things, and there is no universal competency test for them.

How does this relate to libraries, you ask? Well, it struck me a little while ago, while reading yet another article bemoaning Wikipedia/Google/the Internet as the end of the world, that for what is exactly the question we need to ask when we’re talking about sources of information. The answer to “Is Wikipedia a good source of information?” is not “Yes” or “No” — it’s “A good source of information for what?”

If you’re looking for information on podcasting, you’re not likely to find a better resource online or in print (where you’ll hardly find anything, except perhaps in the newspaper) than the Wikipedia entry. If you want to know more about DRM, Wikipedia can be an interesting, though sometimes controversial (check out the discussion) source of information. If you’re looking for an analysis of gender roles in A Winter’s Tale, it might not be so helpful.

Let’s consider the movies. What’s a good source of information on the movies? Well, if I want to know what movies are playing near me, I check out the listings on My Yahoo!. If I want to know who was in a certain movie, I look at imdb.com. If I want to know what kinds of reviews a movie was getting when it came out, I head for the subscription databases. And if I want to know about auteur theory, I hit the stacks. All of these are good sources of information for specific purposes.

Another way of looking at this business of “good sources of information” is to think about what Victor Navasky, editor of The Nation and author of a great new book called A Matter of Opinion, calls the “ideology of the center”:

If The Nation has the ideology of the liberal left and National Review has the ideology of the conservative right, then The New York Times, The Washington Post, the newsweeklies, and the networks have the ideology of the center, and it is part of the ideology of the center to deny that it has an ideology.

Navasky also quotes the late, great journalist Jack Newfield:

Among these unspoken, but organic, values are belief in welfare capitalism, God, the West, Puritanism, the Law, the family, property, the two-party system, and perhaps most crucially, the notion that violence is only defensible when employed by the State. I can’t think of any White House correspondent, of network television analyst, who doesn’t share these values. And who at the same time, who doesn’t insist that he is totally objective.

We tend to think of encyclopedias — “real” encyclopedias, those heavy tomes with the gold leaf edges, as good, objective sources of information. But consider a few selections from a list by A.J. Jacobs (who spent a year reading the Britannica and wrote a book about it called The Know-It-All), on how to get into the Encycopaedia Britannica:

1. Get beheaded. This is perhaps the surest path to getting written up. The Britannica loves nothing more than a person — preferably a noble one — who has had his or her neck chopped in two. One of my favorite games involves reading a biographicalsquibb that begins “French revolutionary” and then guessing how many years it takes before he finds himself under the guillotine.

4. Become a botanist. Scandinavian ones seem particularly popular. Also, the study of mosses and peat deposits shouldn’t be underestimated.

5. Get yourself involved in commedia dell’arte. The Britannica’s obsession with the Italian 18th-century comedies borders on the unhealthy. The EB has great enthusiasm for commedia dell’arte actors, whether they happened to play the pretentious but cowardly soldier Capitano, the saucy maid Columbine, or the madcap acrobat Zanni.

8. Design a font. Apparently, coming up with a new typeface is a more impressive feat than I had previously thought. The Britannica especially likes controversial typefaces that are initially dismissed haughtily, only to be revived later and recognized as brilliant, like Baskerville, designed by font hero John Baskerville.

I mean no disrespect to the dead, botanists, Italian comedy, or fonts, but you have to admit, their selection criteria can be a little bit nutty — one might even say subjective — at times.

Lastly (yes, this post will come to an end soon), how could I not give some space to Google and everyone’s favorite anti-Google (and blog) ranter, ALA President Michael Gorman? One of Gorman’s favorite anti-Google tropes has to do with his stand against atomized information. I would tend to agree with him that Google Print is not going to be the best way to read The Education of Henry Adams (although, I must confess, I have not read it in any way myself). But imagine how useful atomized information might have been to my mother (remember her?), back when she was getting her PhD in English (we follow odd career trajectories in my family):

She was doing an edition of Mark Twain’s Life on the Mississippi. That meant she had to go through every edition she could find of the book (which does not survive in manuscript) and try to decide whether Twain wanted to write “schoolhouse,” “school-house,” or “school house.” Or whether he meant to describe the blackness of the night or the darkness of the night. Or–well, you get the idea. In the 1970s, this meant sitting around with books and microfilm readers and undergraduate research assistants. One person read aloud; the others followed along in different editions, looking for differences. Now just imagine that all those editions were scanned and searchable. Presto! Results!

There’s no such thing as a “good source of information” or a “good technology”–there are only sources of information and technologies that are good for certain things.

What? You’re still reading? Then check out a few of the many posts that got me thinking about this topic over the past few months:

Thanks to them — and to all the library bloggers out there — who’ve gotten me thinking.

a book, an interview, a web site: lots of blatant promotion

Looking for something to read in the 300s (335.998, to be exact)? You can check out my interview with Fran Hawthorne, author of Inside the FDA: the Business and Politics Behind the Drugs We Take and the Food We Eat.

In other publishing related news, I’m happy to report that Third Coast Press* is moving this very weekend to its new place of virtual residence, LIShost. Expect some fluctuations over the weekend, but thirdcoastpress.com should be up and running smoothly again by early next week–and then (yippee!) we’ll be able to fix up some things on the site and (double yippee!) start adding new content again.

*Third Coast Press was an alternative monthly newspaper published in Chicago from January 2003 through March 2005. It’s now a web site and will, we hope, resurface as a quarterly print publication. The Fran Hawthorne interview was originally scheduled to run in the May issue.

Update on 7/31/05: I just realized that the link at the bottom of the interview was broken. That’s fixed now. Also, one of the images (which is really just a quotation pulled from the interview) doesn’t show up on Internet Explorer or Safari (and Safari, for some reason, messes with my fonts). All the more reason to switch to Firefox, I say! Everything looks dandy there.

books they don’t want on display in Hillsborough County, FL

If you haven’t been following the news, here’s the latest on the gay-themed books brouhaha in Florida. And here, courtesy of Martin Sicard, is a list of those extremely dangerous “teen-friendly books that were on display at the West Gate Library that spurred the Hillsborough County Commission to bar county agencies from acknowledging, promoting, and participating in Gay Pride recognition and events.” Protests against the county’s action have included a Read-In and something more like a Read-Out, featuring a librarian with a bullhorn. [Stories via LISnews.com]

  • My Father’s Scar by Michael Cart
  • Hello, I Lied by M.E. Kerr
  • Weetzie Bat by Francesca Lia Block
  • Girl Goddess, #9 by Francesca Lia Block
  • Talk To Me: Stories and a Novella by Carol Dines
  • Tomorrow Wendy: A Love Story by Shelley Stoehr
  • Breaking Boxes by A.M. Jenkins
  • My Heartbeat by Garret Freymann-Weyr
  • Empress of the World by Sara Ryan
  • Ironman by Chris Crutcher
  • Athletic Shorts by Chris Crutcher
  • The Shell House by Linda Newberry
  • A Face in Every Window by Han Nolan
  • Am I Blue? Coming Out from the Silence by Marion Diane Bauer
  • Alice on the Outside by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
  • True Believer by Virginia Euewer Wolff
  • The Car by Gary Paulsen
  • Postcards from No Man’s Land by Aiden Chambers
  • Razzle by Ellen Wittlinger
  • Box Girl by Sarah Withrow
  • Eight Seconds by Jean Ferris

The County keeps saying that they are not banning books, they are banning the endorsement of books, or, as one Tampa resident put it in the Tampa Tribune a few weeks ago

It’s not the job of librarians to highlight collections of books, argued Patrick McDowell, a Tampa resident who frequents the West Gate library branch, where one pride display was removed. “I would defend their right to have the books in the library, but it’s not their job to promote books.” [full article]

Next thing you know they’ll be telling us we’re not supposed to promote literacy.

Finally, if you’re looking for more gay-friendly teen lit to add to your collection, Martin also recommends Geography Club by Brent Hartinger, Luna by Julie Ann Peters, and Misfits by James Howe. I’d remind you not to forget the wonderful and frequently challenged Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden. Don’t forget to check out the Lambda Literary Awards for books for all ages, and ALA’s GLBT Round Table for some further resources.