Sunday, September 30, 2012

Banned Books Week September 30-October 6 2012

 Celebrating 30 years of the freedom to read, Banned Books Week starts today. This auspicious event, started by the late Judith Krug in 1982, is observed annually to bring attention to the consequences of censorship and to ensure that no one person or group can dictate what others may read. I will be posting everyday this week about censorship, banned books, and libraries. For today, take a look at my banned books websites Pam's Banned Books Week Page and Banned Books at Maxwell Library. And find out about events going on all over the country this week at

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Help! I'm a Prisoner in a Library - by Eth Clifford

Sisters Mary Rose and Jo-Beth become trapped in the Finton Memorial Library for Children during a snow storm. The telephone lines are dead, and the electricity has gone out. The library seems creepier still when they hear a myna bird asking their names, and the stuffed dolls on the "kid hack" seem to be staring at them. Eventually the two discover that there is another person in the building with them. At first scared of Miss Finton, the librarian who lives on the second floor in the converted mansion, the girls eventually decide it is safer to follow Miss Finton through the spooky building and discover what, exactly, is screaming like a banshee. And they get to send up a distress signal through an open window in the form of colorful fireworks they find in the basement - a bit more dramatic than the hand-made sign Jo-Beth creates to post in the front window : "Help! I'm a Prisoner in the liberry". The misspelling gave me a nice chuckle, since it is the same one I ended up using when creating the url for this blog (, after I discovered most other variations of "library books" were taken.

Although there are some tried and true stereotypes used to create Miss Finton's character, ultimately she is an endearing player in this fun adventure tale.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

A few things for my reading list

The Librarians Gone Wild! post from "a reading life" provides some intriguing titles that I will be reading and adding to this blog over the next several months. To start, look for Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs (librarians and vampires!) in the coming weeks.

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Phantom Tollbooth - by Norton Juster

Young Milo is always bored, but by passing through a mysterious tollbooth in his toy car, he is sent on a quest to rescue the princesses Rhyme and Reason from the Castle in the Sky. He is joined on his adventure by Tock the watchdog, and Humbug. The three meet a variety of other eccentric and strange characters along the way.  Finding the librarian in the book wasn't difficult, even though the word is never actually used. But what else might you call the Soundkeeper, the guardian of all noises ever made - a cataloger indeed! She tends to the vault "with long lines of file drawers and storage bins" arranged by date, and then categorized, and subcategorized alphabetically. For our hero's "Hello" is found "under G for greetings, then under M for Milo."

I watched the movie that this based on this book a few years ago. I remember it as a very groovy '70s-type journey through a magical world. As is so often the case, I very much wished I had read the book first. Having the movie images in my head seemed counter to the message of the story - to imagine, and think for yourself.

This classic in children's literature is a playful read. I loved the constant word play, and enjoyed watching Milo develop as a character.