The Abacus and the Cross

Writing in the New Scientist CultureLab blog, James Hannam briefly but tantalizingly reviews Nancy Marie Brown’s The Abacus and the Cross in The Scientist Pope Who Lit Up the Dark Ages.

Published in: on December 29, 2010 at 12:42 pm  Leave a Comment  

Rose Hamm Wins Quilt Raffle

The winner of the Friends of the Library 2010 Haysville Community Library Quilt Raffle was Rose Hamm, whose name was drawn at the library’s Holiday Open House celebration on December 23rd: our congratulations to the proud winner, and our gratitude to all friends who participated.

You can participate in the drawing for next year’s quilt beginning immediately. The quilt itself will likely be completed and on display no later than early March 2011.

Published in: on December 28, 2010 at 5:11 pm  Leave a Comment  

Prison Libraries

“The problem with the public discussion about libraries in prison is that it’s the wrong discussion. For over a century now, the debate has centered on reading — on which books should, or more often should not, be included on the prison library’s shelves; which books are “harmful” or “helpful”; whether reading is a privilege or a right. In 1867, Wines argued that a book like “Robinson Crusoe” — at the time, the only secular novel permitted in prison — served the cause of criminal rehabilitation. Others fervently disagreed.

“But the issue of reading is only one dimension of the question, and not necessarily the salient one. The crucial point of a prison library may not be its book catalog: The point is that it is a library.

“The library is a shared public space, a hub, where people spend significant portions of their time, often daily. It is a place inmates work and, in some important ways, live. It is more purposeful and educational than a recreational yard, less formal than a classroom. The prison library gives inmates an organic way to connect to the world, to each other, to themselves as citizens. It’s a small democratic institution set deep within a prison, one they can choose to join.

“This is no small matter. The vast majority of prison inmates will eventually be released back into the free world, back into the community. What happens to them once they are out is the critical piece of the corrections puzzle. It doesn’t take an expert to know that a person who lands in prison, a person often already on the margins of society, will grow further isolated from the norms and routines of society while in prison. And yet, at the very same time, and in this very same building, many inmates — often for the first time in their lives — are also quietly becoming enmeshed in an important social institution.”

Writing for the Boston Globe, Avi Stenberg, author of Running the Books:The Adventures of an Accidental Prison Librarian, explores the social role of prison libraries in Escape Route

Published in: on December 28, 2010 at 11:24 am  Leave a Comment  

Holiday Open House 2

Published in: on December 23, 2010 at 3:39 pm  Leave a Comment  

English as a Global Language

Nicholas Ostler analyzes the role of the numerous languages that have served as a lingua franca at various times throughout history, and argues that the global role of English in the contemporary world is evanescent. The Economist, in English As She Was Spoke, reviews Ostler’s The Last Lingua Franca: English Until the Return of Babel.

Published in: on December 23, 2010 at 2:31 pm  Leave a Comment  

Holiday Open House

Published in: on December 23, 2010 at 2:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

Tomorrow: Holiday Open House

Beginning at 10 AM tomorrow — and until 5 PM — the Haysville Community Library will be hosting a special Holiday Open House, free to all members of the public. Please join us for food, drink and good cheer for all.

Published in: on December 22, 2010 at 1:50 pm  Leave a Comment  

2010 Census

While detailed population counts down to the block level will not be available until February, the US Census Bureau yesterday released the national and state level counts from the 2010 census, along with the new apportionment of the US House of Representatives.

As indicated in the graphic display above, the total resident US population count as of April 1, 2010 was 308,745,538. Nearly 40 percent of the growth during the past decade can be attributed to immigration.

The rate of population increase during the past ten years was 9.7%, marking the first decade of the 21st century as the slowest growing since the 1940 census.

As for Kansas, the resident population increased from 2,688,418 in 2000 to 2,853,118 – an increase of 164,700 or 6.1%, leaving Kansas 33rd in population among the states.

While Kansas retains its current allotment of congressional seats with 4, and therefore retains 6 electoral votes for the 2012 election, ten states will see their congressional delegations reduced by 1 (Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, Pennsylvania) or 2 (New York and Ohio).

Eight states will gain congressional seats, including Texas (+4) and Florida (+2), along with Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina, Utah and Washington (+1 each).

For much greater detail, see the various reports and graphics available at the US Census Bureau website.

Published in: on December 22, 2010 at 1:26 pm  Leave a Comment  

On Books, #57

Published in: on December 22, 2010 at 12:41 pm  Leave a Comment  

On Books, #56

A classic is a book that has never finished saying what it has to say.
–Italo Calvino

Published in: on December 21, 2010 at 6:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

Civil War Sesquicentennial

South Carolina's Congressional Delegation at the Time of Secession (Harpers Weekly, December 22, 1860)

One hundred fifty years ago today – just six weeks after the election of Abraham Lincoln and more than three months before his inauguration as sixteenth President of the United States – a special convention called by the state’s governor voted overwhelmingly for South Carolina to secede from the Union. This act, followed over the ensuing two months by the secession of six more states, became the first act of the American Civil War.

For more than four years, America would be challenged by the scourge of internecine war, a war more costly than any other American conflict to date.

Less than a year and a half after South Carolina’s secession, more Americans would die in the single battle of Shiloh than had been killed in all the wars in which the United States had fought prior to the advent of the Civil War.

And forty days to the day after South Carolina’s secession, Kansas – the state whose early history was so intimately bound with the conflict splitting the nation asunder – would be admitted as the thirty-fourth state of a rapidly disintegrating Union.

At Haysville Community Library, we’ll be commemorating the Sesquicentennial of Kansas’ statehood with a series of special events, beginning with a unique program on Kansas Statehood Day, this coming January 29th featuring guest speaker Jim Hoy.

We’ll also be hosting a number of events commemorating the Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War, beginning with a not-to-be-missed special presentation in early spring 2011 on “The Music of the Civil War”, with Dr. C.J Combs.

A contemporary cartoon deriding the folly of secession.

Published in: on December 20, 2010 at 4:46 pm  Leave a Comment  

Holiday Open House & Holiday Hours

Published in: on December 17, 2010 at 10:34 am  Leave a Comment