International

Singapore Library Pulls Books About Gay Couples

Where is it illegal to chew gum and/or be in a gay relationship? Singapore of course.

Story from NPR's The Two-Way Blog , interpret the name of the blog as you see fit.

The two books are And Tango Makes Three, inspired by two real male penguins who hatched an egg together, and The White Swan Express, about four couples — one of which is a lesbian couple — who travel to China to adopt baby girls. The books will be pulped, according to Time Magazine.

Limits to Books in British Prisons Draws Creative Ire

From The New York Times:

Mr. Chris Mr. Grayling is Britain’s secretary of state for justice, and last November, his department tightened the rules on privileges granted to inmates. One of the changes was to restrict the flow of books into prisons, with a ban on packages of books brought or sent by friends and relatives. Mr. MacShane’s case suggests that some guards have interpreted the policy as a broader ban, though the Ministry of Justice says books should be confiscated only on admission for logistical reasons or if the books are considered inappropriate.

Either way, the effect is to move toward a system under which prisoners must borrow books from prison libraries or earn the right to buy them through good behavior. The debate over access to literature in prison has put Mr. Grayling at the center of an acrimonious dispute over crime and punishment, rehabilitation and whether receiving books is a right or a privilege for a prisoner.

It has also made him some very creative enemies. Novelists, including Kathy Lette and Margaret Drabble, are threatening to name some of their most villainous and unfortunate fictional characters after Mr. Grayling. Ms. Lette said her coming novel, “Courting Trouble,” will feature a corrupt lawyer named Chris Grayling who ends up in a prison where he is deprived of reading matter and goes insane.

“For Britain to be punishing people by starving them of literature is cruel and unusual punishment,” Ms. Lette said as she took part in a protest last month outside the prime minister’s office. “We are going to impale him on the end of our pens. Poetic justice is true justice.”

Los Angeles Public Library is Having a #LiteraryWorldCup, How About Your Library?

The competition is heating up for the Literary World Cup at the LA Public Library on twitter @LAPublicLibrary.


If you're on twitter, follow along at #LiteraryWorldCup.

Benches Shaped Like Open Books Will Pop Up in London this Summer

News from the UK

Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust says: “We are very excited to be bringing a collection of BookBenches to London this summer to spread the love of reading across the capital. From Conan Doyle’s Sherlock to Cressida’s dragons, there will be plenty in store for visitors to celebrate reading for enjoyment and the UK’s rich literary culture.”

Lovely to think about Londoners having lunch and a read on one of these. Better than those silly cows & sheep.

Russian court demands U.S. Library of Congress hand over Jewish texts

Good Shabbat.

Via Reuters: A Russian court demanded on Thursday that the U.S. Library of Congress hand back seven precious Jewish texts to Moscow - and, in a tit-for-tat ruling, said it should pay a massive fine for every day it delays.

The so-called Schneerson collection, claimed by both Russia and the New York-based Hasidic Chabad-Lubavitch group, has become a bone of contention in Russia-U.S. ties, at their lowest for decades due to the Ukraine crisis.

The Library of Congress has seven books of the collection, Interfax reported. Russia has 4,425 texts, including editions of the Torah and the Talmud, some of them dating back to to the 16th century. A Moscow arbitration court ruled that the Library of Congress should pay $50,000 in fines for every day the seven books are not handed over.

It's World Book Day...and Night!

The International Publishers Association released a document on how the day is celebrated around the world.

Since 1995, the 23rd of April (birth date of Shakespeare and Cervantes) has been designated by UNESCO as World Book & Copyright Day, with many events taking place to celebrate books, authors and reading.

In Madrid, the Premio Cervantes, the most prestigious literary prize in the Spanish language, will be awarded by the King of Spain to Elena Poniatowska, a Mexican writer and journalist. In Budapest, the International Book Fair will open. In the United States, volunteers will distribute 500,000 books provided free by publishers, with one third going to school pupils. In many other countries, World Book Day events take place on March 6th.

You can read about the different traditions and events associated with World Book Day in a specially commissioned IPA report, available here as a pdf.

It's also World Book Night USA! I'm giving away copies of Jamie Ford's Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet at my Brooklyn subway plaza. Any other givers out there? Chime in!

Applications now open for Librarians Without Borders service trip to Guatemala

 

LIS students and professionals are invited to apply for the Librarians Without Borders Guatemala service trip. Trip Participants will travel to Guatemala, visiting school and community libraries in Quetzaltenango and Chajul. Volunteers will complete seven days of work with two partner organizations: the Asturias Academy and Limitless Horizons Ixil. Other trip activities include sightseeing, cultural visits and workshops designed to give participants a comprehensive understanding of libraries, education and culture in Guatemala. This highly immersive experience allows volunteers to provide much needed on-the ground support. Visit http://lwb-online.org/?p=5451 for more information.

How to apply: submit completed application form to carolyn.doi@lwb-online.org by March 13, 2014. Successful applicants will by notified by the week of March 17. -- Read More

Right-Wing French Politician Protests Childrens Book "Everybody Get Naked"

Here's the story via Melville House about a three year old childrens book that is ruffling some French feathers.

In a country where the banning of books is rare and mostly unheard of, France has recently experienced a spate of attacks by its politicians on the most liberal of French children’s books. Right-wing and even mainstream politicians have begun calling for the censorship of certain books in a trend that seems to reflect that “the domestic political system in France is under strain”, as Olivia Snaije noted for Publishing Perspectives.

In the most public example, the leader of the UMP, France’s main opposition party (which was previously led by President Nicolas Sarkozy), Jean-François Copé, appeared on French TV holding a copy of Tous à Poil (Everybody Gets Naked). Surely one of the sweetest ideas for a children’s book, Tous à Poil is a story in which everyone, the baby, the babysitter, the neighbour, the teacher and even the CEO get naked. The book’s authors, Claire Franek and Marc Daniau, explained they had written it in in order to show:

“Real bodies in natural situations from a child’s everyday life to counter the numerous images of bodies, often undressed, altered by Photoshop or plastic surgery, that are shown in ads or on the covers of magazines.”

Hundreds of Ann Frank's Diary Copies Vandalized in Tokyo's Libraries

From The New York Times:

TOKYO — Japan on Friday promised to begin an investigation into the mysterious mutilation of hundreds of copies of “Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl” and other books related to her at public libraries across Tokyo.

Local news media reports said 31 municipal libraries had found 265 copies of the diary by Frank, the young Holocaust victim, and other books vandalized, usually with several pages torn or ripped out. The reports said some libraries had taken copies of the diary off their shelves to protect them.

Officials said they did not know the motive for the vandalism, the first cases of which were discovered earlier this month.

Sarajevo Reopens 477-year old library After Wars Destruction


Via Boston.com:

Shown above: Bosnian security worker passes by old books on display during opening ceremony of Gazi Husrev-bey library in Sarajevo, on Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014. Sarajevo reopens the 477-year old library on Wednesday, that contains the biggest collection of oriental books and manuscripts in Southeast Europe, after it was rebuilt with the financial donation from Qatar. Dodging bullets and bombs during the 1992-95 Bosnian war and the city's siege, Sarajevans moved the manuscripts eight times to different locations to save them from destruction. (AP Photo/Amel Emric)

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