It’s that time of year again, when we celebrate the power of books and our right to read them. Banned Books Week is both a joyous celebration and a stark reminder of the dangers of censorship.
Banned Books Week began in the 1980s, a time of increased challenges to books, as a way to promote and protect intellectual freedom.
“When we ban things, it’s just this gut reaction to suppress things that don’t reflect our own reality,” says ASU librarian Ashley Gohr.
More than 350 challenges were made last year to library, school and university materials.
The top 10 most challenged books of 2019, as recorded by the American Library Association (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom, included “I Am Jazz” by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood, the “Harry Potter” series by J.K. Rowling, and “George” by Alex Gino.
The impulse to censor, Gohr said, is a direct response to the inherent power ideas hold and the strength of books to spread them.
“Books are thought of as dangerous, and they are! They contain ideas and stories that can change minds and lives.”
This year, Banned Books Week, an official ALA event, encourages us to find our freedom to read and to appreciate books for what they are: portals to discovery.
If you are a current student, faculty or staff member at Arizona State University, then you have free digital access to the New York Times (NYT) and the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).
All you need to do is activate your free subscriptions, a quick and simple process.
The WSJ service can be accessed via tablet, smartphone app or the web, and the service includes resources for faculty to seamlessly integrate content into course pages in facilitating classroom discussion of relevant and timely news stories.
Student accounts will stay active until their graduation date, while faculty and staff will need to validate their memberships once a year.
For ASU students, faculty and staff seeking thoughtful entertainment — everything from Chaplin to foreign and independent films — high quality video content is available to stream free of charge via the Kanopy platform.
An on-demand streaming service for public libraries and universities, Kanopy features a large, curated collection of diverse, unique and award-winning films and documentaries.
To start streaming, all you need to do is sign up.
In an effort to empower the ASU community to participate in the upcoming Nov. 3 election, the ASU Library is celebratingNational Voter Registration Day, Tuesday, Sept. 22, a nonpartisan civic holiday to raise voter awareness.
According to a 2018 report by the ASU Morrison Institute for Public Policy, 45 percent of eligible voters in Arizona did not cast a ballot in the 2016 general election – putting Arizona 43rd nationally for voter turnout – and more than 65 million potential voters in the United States reported that they were unable to vote in the 2016 general election due to not being registered.
National Voter Registration Day was first celebrated in 2012 with the goal of equipping American citizens with the information and resources they need to make their voices heard in national elections, as missed deadlines and a lack of information are some of the reasons why Americans end up not voting come election time.
The right to vote did not come easy for many in the United States; National Voter Registration Day is an opportunity to come together as a nation to celebrate our voting rights and ensure that our voices are heard.
Here are6 ways you can be #VoteReady:
Register to vote! (Duh!)
If you have never voted before, recently turned 18 or have become a U.S. citizen, you must register to vote if you want to cast a ballot in the upcoming national election.
Make a plan to vote!
Will you cast your ballot by mail or in person? If the latter, what forms of identification will you need to vote at your polling place? (And where is your polling place?) Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it is even more critical that voters make a plan to vote this year. Use our handy (librarian-made) checklist.
Share resources and encourage others to be #VoteReady.
Sometimes we all just need a little nudge and some helpful information. This is a good time to remind friends, students and family members to register to vote and/or to check the status of their voter registration.
Important dates for Arizona voters:
October 5 is the deadline to register to vote in Arizona for the Nov. 3 General Election. Dates vary for other states, so it’s best to check online (vote.org).
October 7 is when early voting begins in Arizona.
October 23 is the deadline to request a ballot by mail in Arizona. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, mail-in voting is even more important this year.
November 3 is the national election.
Not an Arizona voter? Check vote.org to find dates, deadlines and rules for the election centers in your state.
Sustained funding support for the Community Driven Archives initiative at the ASU Library is among 25 actions that Arizona State University has committed to launching in the 2020-21 academic year in an effort to “accelerate meaningful change” and “contribute to a national agenda for social justice,” as announced by ASU President Michael M. Crow in a Sept. 2 statement.
In the wake of the murder of George Floyd and amid Black Lives Matter protests, the ASU community was called upon to contribute their ideas and expertise toward creating an immediate plan of action toward addressing racial injustice.
ASU's 25-action plan was announced by Crow just days following the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
The 25 actions “will be undertaken with the goal of enhancing diversity, growth and opportunity for Black undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and staff,” wrote Dr. Crow, “while also expanding our academic offerings, community services and collaborative relationships to the benefit of all underrepresented groups and individuals at ASU.”
“Arizona’s archives are dominated by white narratives that romanticize a ‘wild west’ history,” said Nancy Godoy, Associate Archivist and Interim Head of Archives at the ASU Library, who was named a 2020 “Mover and Shaker” by the Library Journal for her pioneering work and leadership as the creator and head of the CDA initiative, which reimagines archives as safe, inclusive spaces for Arizona’s minority communities to reclaim authorship over their own history.
Godoy and her team regularly host and co-host educational workshops for the public on how to preserve one’s history, often partnering with local businesses and organizations, such as the Palabras Bilingual Bookstore. Workshop attendees receive an archive starter kit containing supplies and a brochure on preservation in both English and Spanish.
“One of my favorite things about this work is that community members are learning how to create a story that speaks to their reality,” Godoy said. “They are redefining what an archive is, what should be included, and who should have access to community archives and history.”
President Crow’s announcement marks a new milestone in the CDA trajectory with greater potential for archival healing and social justice for communities that have experienced historical underrepresentation.
Initial plans to expand the library initiative include developing a more diverse archival workforce.
Arizona State University resumed on-campus, in-person classes on August 20, 2020. While campus life looks and feels different this semester, at least one thing remains the same: the ASU Library is committed to supporting the health and success of the ASU community.
As Sun Devils return to campus, these are some of the changes they can expect to see at the library – everything from adjusted hours to a variety of public health measures.
All libraries are open – bring your Sun Card.
During the fall 2020 semester at ASU, physical access to university libraries is limited to students, faculty and staff. A Sun Card is required to enter the buildings. Non-ASU visitors are welcome by appointment only.
Before you come to the library, remember to check the hours.
There will be no overnight hours in the library for the fall semester. Due to the university’s COVID-19 restrictions, operational hours will be limited. Be sure to check library hours before you visit.
Study rooms are open with lower maximum capacity.
To ensure physical distancing, library study rooms have a lower maximum capacity. Most study rooms have a maximum set capacity of just two people, while some study rooms allow for three people. (There is clear signage posted outside of each study room indicating the maximum capacity.)
Mask up and no food, please.
A face covering is required inside all libraries at all times (even in study rooms, as these spaces are shared by many). Because face coverings are required in library spaces, please eat snacks and meals outdoors. Beverages are permitted, so long as you remove your mask only while drinking.
Are there laptops and hotspots available?
Laptops and hotspots are available for checkout. Due to high demand, there may be a delay in receiving the requested device. Students in need of computing technology and who reside on campus or near campus are invited to use computers in the libraries and/or the campus computing sites while they wait for their requested device to be delivered.
Why is everything spaced out?
Some library computers have been removed and furniture has been reconfigured to allow for physical distancing. Please try to keep a distance of 6 feet from others when you are in the library (about the length of Sparky’s pitchfork).
Keep it clean.
There will be frequent cleaning inside all libraries on a daily basis, and the ASU Library will make available sanitizing supplies.
Need support? Librarians are standing by.
The ASU Library can help you with whatever you need. While you can connect with library support via a variety of platforms, this is generally a good place to start: Ask A Librarian.
Make a reservation
The ASU Library is home to some cool research and collab spaces, including the Labriola National American Indian Data Center and the Map and Geospatial Hub. While all library research and archive units remain open, this fall you will need to make a reservation for some of them:
Arizona State University is set to resume on-campus, in-person classes on August 20, 2020. In preparation, the ASU Library has begun a phased re-opening of its eight libraries:
August 6: Music Library
August 10: Fletcher Library and Noble Library
August 13: Downtown Phoenix campus Library and Polytechnic campus Library
August 17: Hayden Library
August 20: Design and the Arts Library
In coordination with the university's COVID-19 precautions, a Sun Card will be required to enter all libraries, as access will be limited to ASU students, faculty and staff. Non-ASU visitors are welcome by appointment only.
Those in the ASU community are encouraged to check library hours before making their visit, as ASU Library operational hours will differ from previous academic years.
Whether you’re looking to improve the quality of your data or the accessibility of your research, the ASU Library has your back.
As a presenter at this year’s ASU GRASP virtual conference (Grants, Research and Sponsored Projects), scheduled for September 1, the ASU Library will debut its new faculty-focused research support services, including research data management services and its dedicated Researcher Support team.
Be sure to check out these library-led conference sessions:
Electronic Research Notebooks: Improving the Quality of Your Research Notes and Processing Your Findings More Efficiently
ASU’s Electronic Research Notebooks (ERN) provider, LabArchives, enables researchers in all disciplines to quickly and accurately import protocols, notes, observations and other data into a secure, searchable, cloud-based platform with mobile access and sharing capabilities that keeps your intellectual property protected. Learn how LabArchives can help you store and organize your research data, facilitate collaboration, protect your work and intellectual property, and so much more.
Experts from the Library and KED will be on hand to introduce you to the product and answer any questions you may have.
John Kromer, STEM Division Head, ASU Library
Philip Tarrant, Research Data Management Officer, Knowledge Enterprise
Research Data Management Services
Most funding agencies and many journals now expect research data to be made publicly accessible as part of a grant. Knowledge Enterprise and the ASU Library have partnered to provide you the tools, technology, and services you can draw upon as you conduct your research.
Be one of the first to hear details on ASU Library’s new repository services enhancements including an improved user interface, metadata, digital preservation, and the addition of new research data services.
Debra Hanken Kurtz, Associate University Librarian for Technology Services, ASU Library
Philip Tarrant, Research Data Management Officer, Knowledge Enterprise
Ask an Expert! Meet the ASU Library Researcher Support Team
Drop in to meet ASU Librarians who will answer your questions and tell you how we support everything from project planning, literature reviews, research data publishing, Electronic Research Notebooks training, data science and analytics, Geospatial Information Systems, author copyright guidance, and more.
For questions about the conference and library research support, contact Matt Harp, Director of Research Data Services for the ASU Library, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ASU Library’s Alex Soto is among this year’s Spectrum Scholars, a class of 61 exceptional graduate students in the field of library and information studies.
The scholarship award, given by the American Library Association (ALA) Office of Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services, is in recognition of Soto’s commitment to community building, leadership and efforts to make social justice a daily part of library work.
Soto (Tohono O’odham) is a graduate student in the University of Arizona’s Knowledge River Program and a team member within the Labriola National American Indian Data Center at the ASU Library, where he is actively working to increase engagement with American Indian students, faculty and staff.
Named a 2019 Dean’s Medalist by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences for his outstanding undergraduate work at ASU and his advocacy around libraries and Native communities, Soto has focused his library career on issues of tribal sovereignty and empowerment.
“This is a much deserved honor. Alex is one of our outstanding early career professionals,” says Lorrie McAllister, Associate University Librarian for Collections and Strategy, “I look forward to Alex’s continued valuable contributions to the Library and to the University. He is truly a rising star!”
According to the Spectrum Scholarship Program, the 2020 application cycle garnered four times as many applications as there were available scholarships – the majority of them deemed highly fundable.
A highlight of the $5,000 Spectrum Scholarship, which Soto plans to apply toward graduate school tuition, is its offering of professional development, networking and mentoring opportunities through the Spectrum Leadership Institute, which Soto will attend at no charge at next year’s ALA Annual Conference.
“The main thing I like about the scholarship is the training initiatives,” said Soto. “It will be great to meet folks in the field and get connected to the larger network on a national level.”
Soto, who recently co-authored and helped shepherd the ASU Library’s first-ever Indigenous land acknowledgement, in coordination with McAllister and others at the library, says that cultural memory institutions such as libraries have a significant role to play in prioritizing Indigenous knowledge systems, which, in turn, have the potential to meaningfully confront systemic racism, white supremacy and social injustice.
“How we set up a space will inform the ways in which we interact in that space,” said Soto. “We need to be asking, how can we be more inclusive to Native knowledge systems?”
Over the last two years, Patel has delivered exceptional customer service while working as a Library Student Aide III in monographic processing at CLRB, on ASU’s Polytechnic campus, under the supervision of Debra Faulkner.
“Jeet always goes above and beyond,” said Faulkner, a Materials Processing Operations Supervisor for Cataloging Operations and Services. “He puts his best effort all the time and is willing to lend assistance whenever needed.”
Juggling his undergraduate studies in global agribusiness with his duties as a library student worker, Patel processes books and other materials for eight libraries across four campuses. Each day, he creates and confirms correct spine labels for each item before putting them into transit – a “simple, yet seemingly endless task that is vital to the operation of the library at ASU, and when done correctly, as Jeet makes sure, ultimately helps users to find the items that they need in our library system,” said Faulkner.
Patience, strong intellect, conscientiousness and a compassionate heart – the ability to put people at ease with a cheerful smile and a helping hand – were some of the ways the award committee characterized Patel’s work performance and interactions with fellow workers.
The LibAid for Student Success award, which comes with a $750 monetary award, was created in 2019 through the generosity of an anonymous donor with the goal of providing further support to a well-rounded student employee who shows a high level of commitment to serving the library and the university. The award is given bi-annually at the end of the fall and spring semesters.
Patel says the monetary prize will further enhance his college experience: “It has lightened my financial burden, which allows me to focus more on school and other personal development,” said Patel. “I hope one day I will be able to give back to our community and help students achieve their goals just as you have helped me.”
Working at the library has been a game-changer for Patel: “Over the last few years, the ASU Library has become part of my family,” he said. “Being an international student, it’s easy to be scared that you won’t fit in but working at ASU Library has given me that feeling of home away from home.”
More than 200 student employees serve the ASU community daily from eight library locations contributing to the success and impact of university research, academics and campus life. Through this award, the ASU Library seeks to recognize their outstanding contributions.
Patty Odle, Program Manager for events and communications at the library, said the spring 2020 award nominees were truly outstanding.
“I do not always have the privilege of knowing all of the excellent library student workers that ASU Library employs,” said Odle. “It was a pleasure to learn about this extraordinary cohort of nominees through the supervisor nominations and student applications that were submitted.”
Gain knowledge and learn how to solve problems with data.
Now available through the ASU Library’s Unit for Data Science and Analytics, a free, new digital learning experience offers credentialing to students, faculty and staff of all levels and disciplines in need of an introductory course in data science.
Foundations of Data Science is a six-module ASU Canvas course, designed by data science experts, aimed at enhancing one’s understanding of using data as a research tool – everything from data visualization and machine learning to natural language processing and model selection. No programming is involved.
The ASU Library acknowledges the twenty-two Native Nations that have inhabited this land for centuries. Arizona State University's four campuses are located in the Salt River Valley on ancestral territories of Indigenous peoples, including the Akimel O’odham (Pima) and Pee Posh (Maricopa) Indian Communities, whose care and keeping of these lands allows us to be here today. ASU Library acknowledges the sovereignty of these nations and seeks to foster an environment of success and possibility for Native American students and patrons. We are advocates for the incorporation of Indigenous knowledge systems and research methodologies within contemporary library practice. ASU Library welcomes members of the Akimel O’odham and Pee Posh, and all Native nations to the Library.