National Library Week: Right to Read Day

National Library Week is April 23-29, 2023, a time celebrate our nation’s libraries, library workers’ contributions, and promote library use and support. This year’s theme is There’s More to the Story.

Today is Right to Read Day, a call to action to fight back against censorship to defend, protect, and celebrate your right to read freely.

Right to Read Day: Protect Your Right to Read, April 24, 2023

The American Library Association has also released its most challenged books of 2022 as part of its State of American Libraries 2022 report [link to webpage containing pdf]. ALA documented 1,269 demands to censor library books and resources in 2022, the highest number of attempted book bans since ALA began compiling data about censorship in libraries more than 20 years ago and nearly doubling the 729 book challenges reported in 2021. While other instances of book challenges or removals may have occurred, these are the ones reported to the ALA.

In 2022, 2,571 unique titles were targeted for censorship.

Removing a book from a collection due to inaccuracies, age, or condition (something libraries often do in order to provide the best resources to their users) is different than banning or requesting to ban a book– most books that are challenged because they represent marginalized communities, have “profane” or “offensive” language or content, or disagree with someone’s political, religious, or social viewpoint. In 2022, books containing LGBTQIA+ content were the top challenged materials. Self-selection and choosing to not read a book because you disagree with it is different than requesting to remove it from a collection so no one can read it.

Keep reading for ways that you can advocate for libraries, including how to read some of 2022’s most challenged books and decide for yourself.

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International Women’s Day: #EmbraceEquity

March 8 is International Women’s Day (IWD). This year’s theme is #EmbraceEquity to get the world talking about Why equal opportunities aren’t enough. People start from different places, so true inclusion and belonging require equitable action.

Inclusion should be intersectional and is for all ages. We can all be allies to #EmbraceEquity.

Available in the Main Campus Children’s Collection (PZ 7.2 .J64 Int 2019)

(Wait, what does intersectionality have to do with IWD? All forms of inequality are mutually reinforcing and must therefore be analyzed and addressed simultaneously to prevent one form of inequality from reinforcing another. Want to learn more about intersectionality? Check out the Center for Intersectional Justice for more information.)

Closing gender gaps has broad multi-generational benefits for societies, including economic benefits and increased investment in education, health, nutrition, and housing.

Keep reading for a streaming video to learn more about women in global history, information about the UN Women’s DigitALL campaign (and some books from the library to explore that topic further), and how to support and #EmbraceEquity for International Women’s Day and every day.

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Celebrating OER Week at Durham Tech

March 6-10 is Open Education Week!

Open Educational Resources (OER) are high-quality educational materials that are available for free in the public domain and can be retained, reused, revised, remixed, and redistributed under Creative Commons licensing. These materials can be textbooks, research documents, or instructional tools, among other things.

Durham Tech has already awarded stipends for OER adoption to almost 20 instructors, and the OER Task Force is pleased to announce Spring 2023 stipends for instructors using open educational resources!

Many faculty members may already be using OER in the classroom without even realizing it, so check out the detailed guide to OER (Durham Tech OER LibGuide).

To be eligible to receive a stipend, you must be a Durham Tech instructor who is 1) already using OER in your classes this semester and 2) who did not receive a stipend for OER in Fall 2022. Only one stipend will be awarded per instructor.

The deadline to apply using the stipend application form is Friday, March 31st by 5pm. Once the deadline has passed, the task force will evaluate the applications using the 5 R’s of OER (Retain, Reuse, Revise, Remix, and Redistribute – see the link for a detailed guide to OER for more info on these Rs).

Keep reading to learn more about OER and faculty should look for more communication from the OER Taskforce in the coming weeks!

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Durham Tech’s Favorites for Black History Month

It’s nearing the end of Black History Month, so while our blog post topics may broaden, we’d like to leave you with some books by Black Americans that have made an impact on the Durham Tech community to read beyond just February because Black history is American history all year long.

Keep reading for Durham Tech’s favorite reads by Black American authors–fiction, nonfiction, poetry, art, environmental justice, social justice, criminal justice, economics, fantasy, and finance–, and for a documentary exploring if Black History Month accomplishes what it sets out to do.

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Contemporary Black Activists and Advocates

This week’s Black History Month post highlights contemporary activist and advocates and their works, but also highlights some folks closer to home.

North Carolina has a history of Black advocates and activists–in no particular chronological order–from Pauli Murray to Ann Atwater to James Shepard to Ella Baker to the Greensboro Four (Franklin McCain, Jibreel Khazan, Joseph McNeil, and David Richmond) to Nina Simone to the Reverend Dr. William J. Barber II.

Two time Durham university graduate (NC Central and Duke), Rev. Barber is a 2018 MacArthur Fellow (also known as the “Genius” grants), one of the revivers of The Poor People’s Campaign, a founder of Moral Mondays and its expansion project Repairers of the Breach, organizer, activist, and intersectional advocate.

Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II; Photo credit: John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

“We must find a way to make clear today that the moral and constitutional crisis we face in America is not just about Republicans versus Democrats or liberal versus conservative. It is really instead about fundamental right against wrong, fundamental humanity, who we will write off and who we will include.”

from “Forward together, not one step back” [speech], UC Berkley, 19 April 2019.

Rev. Barber has published several books that are available through the Durham Tech Library.

Keep reading for more books by contemporary advocates and activists in the Durham Tech Library collections and for a link to tour Durham’s civil rights legacy in murals (and some multimedia).

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Black Wordsmiths: Black Musicians & Poets in the Durham Tech Library Collection

"BLK History Month" by Nikki Giovanni. If Black History Month is not viable then wind does not carry the seeds and drop them on fertile ground rain does not dampen the land and encourage the seeds to root sun does not warm the earth and kiss the seedlings and tell them plain: You’re As Good As Anybody Else You’ve Got A Place Here, Too

This week’s Black History Month post highlights Black creators in poetry and music, including pop, hip hop, rap, punk, and rock. This is only a small selection of our collection, so stop by and browse our digital collections from your own computer or stop in and browse our shelves.

Updated 2/15/2023: Want some poetry bookmarks? Go to the end of the post!

Interested in learning how to make your own music using only a laptop? Check out this awesome event through the Wake County Public Libraries featuring Durham’s Pierce Freelon. Registration is requested and is free.

Hip Hop Beat Making with Pierce Freelon, Saturday, February 25 from 4:00-5:00 PM at the Oberlin Regional Library (1930 Clark Ave, Raleigh, NC 27605). Registration is requested and free.

Explore music production and entrepreneurship by learning how to compose, sample, and write a song using only a laptop with Grammy-nominated musician and co-creator of PBS’s Beat Making Lab.

Be sure to check out the other Black History Month events through the Wake County Public Library’s “Celebrating Black Brilliance” series.

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Black History is American History

This week for Black History Month, we’re highlighting the actual history of the month itself and resources available to work towards Dr. Woodson’s goals when he envisioned a month highlighting Black contributions to American history.

“Black History Is Our History: Dr. Carter G. Woodson, Also Known As The ‘Father Of Black History Month” by CBS New York (YouTube)

Dr. Carter G. Woodson is the “father of Black History Month.” Starting as a week in February in 1926 (selected as the same month as the birthday of Abraham Lincoln and the chosen birthday of Frederick Douglass) and expanded to a month by presidential decree in 1976, Woodson insisted that Black History Week should be used to “emphasize not Negro History, but the Negro in history,” since “one cannot understand the foundation of American government, tax structure, or changing legislative developments without understanding slavery, its economic implications, and heavy influence on political party identity.”

Hayti Heritage Center sign with St. Joseph's UME in the background

Locally, the Hayti Heritage Center in Durham was recently highlighted in a New York Times article highlighting important African American landmarks that highlight important aspects of Black history. Check it out here: “8 Places Across the U.S. That Illuminate Black History” (online) or through our ProQuest Central database (login using your Durham Tech username and password).

Keep reading to see books and resources available through the Durham Tech Library highlighting Black people in American history, some well-know and some lesser known.

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Sitting at Home Waiting for Snow? Check Out Our Virtual Library Services

Sumo Humphrey, a precious little gray cat, looks out the screen door at snow while wearing an adorable red, puffy cat jacket

Waiting for snow like sweet little Sumo Humphrey in his warm, ADORABLE winter jacket?

Just taking virtual classes this semester?

Good news is that you don’t have to be on campus to take advantage of lots of Durham Tech Library resources and services!

Keep reading for information about our virtual library services AND a bonus joyful dog video! (Click that Read more link!)

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Celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day by Learning More

In 2017, the state of North Carolina proclaimed the second Monday in October as Indigenous People’s Day and in 2021, the president of the United States acknowledged Indigenous Peoples’ Day for the first time with an official proclamation

What is Indigenous Peoples’ Day? 

An alternative to Columbus Day, Indigenous Peoples’ Day is “a celebration … to bring acknowledgment to the Native population”  and remove the focus from Columbus, a man who caused great harm to Native populations. 

Instead, “It can be a day of reflection of our history in the United States, the role Native people have played in it, the impacts that history has had on native people and communities, and also a day to gain some understanding of the diversity of Indigenous peoples,” according to Mandy Van Heuvelen, the cultural interpreter coordinator at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian.

Want to learn more about Indigenous peoples’ history, culture, and diverse experiences?

Check out a some of the books available through the Durham Tech Library collections.

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