September 29th, 2010

Book Swap, Silent Auction & Bake Sale

What better way is there to spend a fall afternoon than visiting with friends who enjoy reading and love their library?  In early October every year, the Friends of the Cecil County Public Library hold their annual Book Swap and Meet, as well as a fund-raiser – the Silent Auction and Bake Sale.  This fun event, open to the community, will be held on Saturday, October 9th from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Elkton Central Library’s meeting room.  The book swap is a different format from the Friends’ book sales of previous years.  Here’s how it works:  bring up to 10 used books in good condition and of high value to readers, and swap them for the same number of books “new” to you.

During your visit, don’t forget to browse the unique silent auction items and place bids on your favorites.  Featured again this year will be popular auction items such as a Brazilian dinner for two, yoga classes, and baskets of locally prepared goodies, plus many more items of value.  New this year, you can bid on a professional photography package valued at $200, private drum lessons with Bobby Jones or enjoy lunch for 2 at Woody’s in North East with Delegate Dave Rudolph.  Pick up a complete list of auction items from any library branch.  And lastly, you can’t leave without visiting the bake sale table loaded with delicious homemade goodies, all reasonably priced.  Take a few minutes to sit and visit with friends, nibble on sweet treats and discuss the latest must-read book you just finished.

The proceeds from the silent auction and the bake sale will help the Friends support the Library’s very important Summer Reading Programs for children, teens and adults, as well as other library projects.  So please join us on October 9th!  Visit with friends, swap books, eat some yummy treats and have fun with some friendly competitive bidding on great auction items.  The library is such a vital part of our community and benefits members of all ages.  Consider supporting your library by joining and becoming an active member of the Friends of the Cecil County Public Library.  Your talents and ideas will be appreciated!  Talk to any Friends volunteer on the day of the event or click here to print out a Friends Membership Form.

Hope to see you there!  What treats, books and silent auction items are you looking forward to this year?


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September 22nd, 2010

Do Not Read This Blog!

Let me guess. You’re reading this blog anyway, even though I explicitly directed you not to. Typical! Next thing you know you’ll be searching the catalog for contentious material, like Gone with the Wind, Little House on the Prairie, Shel Silverstein’s A Light in the Attic, or worse — Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary!

Don’t know what I’m talking about? Those books are four of many that have been hotly debated in the United States, their place in schools challenged. Both in California and Illinois, Gone with the Wind was seen as offensive because of its depiction of race relations; in Louisiana and South Dakota, Little House on the Prairie was seen as derogatory against Native Americans; Silverstein’s poetry wasn’t appreciated in Wisconsin where it was believed his work encouraged children to break dishes instead of wash them. And the story behind California’s Golden State’s Menifee Union School District fight to ban the dictionary? Well, that’s just too scandalous to even mention here. Let’s just say that some words are too inappropriate to define.

Why is it that being told what not to do makes us want to do it all the more? Seems to me that we often forget how great our freedoms are until they have been threatened. Harper Lee put it succinctly: “Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.”

And how apropos to hear from Harper Lee, as her novel To Kill a Mockingbird has been one of the most challenged books in our country for decades. I can’t help but laugh at how many of the challenged books I read growing up, and their controversial material was completely lost on me. If only someone had explained the naughty bits! Just whispered from the adjacent library aisle: “Psst… If you’re looking for something juicy to read, check out Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales!” (Who knew 14th century literature could be so risqué?)

So join me and celebrate National Banned Books Week this week by exercising your freedom to read. What will I read? Maybe I’ll read The Diary of Anne Frank, even though the Alabama State Textbook Committee rejected it in 1983 because it’s a “real downer.” Or I wouldn’t mind rereading Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Peter Rabbit; London schools banned it in the 1980s because it only depicts “middle-class rabbits.” Or if I really want to test the waters, I’ll look into this book.

So tell me what YOU think – is (book) ignorance bliss?

Want to see more banned books? Check out this list!


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