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Archive for September, 2015

Good Roads and Good Sidepaths

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015


Presentation by Robert McCullough
Wednesday, October 21, 2015, 5:30 pm
Special Collections Reading Room, Bailey/Howe Library

Robert McCullough’s new book, Old Wheelways: Traces of Bicycle History on the Land,  explores the “golden age of American bicycle touring” at the end of the nineteenth century. In conjunction with the library’s current exhibit, Cycling through the News, Professor McCullough will talk about the bicyclists who shaped and reshaped American culture from 1880 to 1900. These cyclists introduced an independent and dependable means of overland travel, propelled a campaign to improve the nation’s pitiful network of roads, swayed park planners, and even set into motion the modern engineering technology essential to the development of automobiles and airplanes.  They constructed a far-flung network of bicycle paths to satisfy their exploratory impulses.  Wheelmen and wheel women also assembled a substantial body of geographical literature, illustration, and photography. Their vivid descriptions of American places made them some of the country’s keenest observers of suburban and rural landscapes.

Robert L. McCullough is Associate Professor of Historic Preservation at UVM. He is the author of The Landscape of Community: A History of Communal Forests in New England and Crossings: History of New England Bridges.

The presentation is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. For more information, email uvmsc@uvm.edu or call 656-2138.

Five books you won’t believe were banned!

Monday, September 28th, 2015

Librarians and book lovers around the world celebrate the freedom to read during Banned Books Week 2015 (September 27th – October 3rd). Here are five books you may be surprised to learn have been challenged and even banned from library collections and school assignments.


1. A Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

Salinger’s classic coming-of-age novel was published in 1951 and in 1960 an Oklahoma teacher was fired for assigning it to an eleventh-grade English class. Since then it’s been the subject of numerous curricular and library challenges and outright bans all the way to the 21st century on grounds of profanity and sexual content.


2. Harry Potter [series] by J.K. Rowling

The exploits of “the boy who lived” have been challenged hundreds of times in schools and libraries, by critics concerned that the series presents violence, witchcraft, occult and Satanic themes, and that it undermines family values.


Beloved by Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison’s Pulitzer Prize winner is considered a modern classic and an unflinching indictment of slavery, as seen through the eyes of its protagonist Sethe. It’s been challenged on numerous high school reading lists and was pulled from the curriculum of a senior AP English class in Louisville, Kentucky in 2007.


To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

The 1961 Pulitzer Prize winner remains one of the most challenged books of all time. Objections have been wide-ranging and include concerns about profanity and racial slurs used in the novel, as well as events depicted including racism, white supremacy, rape and incest.


Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

Satrapi’s autobiographical graphic novel depicts her coming of age during the Iranian Revolution. Originally published in French, it was released in English in 2003 and lauded by the New York Times as one of the best books of the year. In 2013, Chicago public school administrators pulled it from classrooms. Further challenges objected to graphic language and images, scenes of torture and Islamic literature.

To learn more about the hundreds of books that have banned and challenged in schools and libraries around the nation, visit the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom Banned & Challenged Books site.