Great Mythologies of the World (Great Courses)

This ‘Book’ took me over 20 hours to listen to.  It was supposed to be over 30 hours, but I have my speed set to 1.25X since the original 1X just drove me nuts.  This is a fascinating series of lectures on mythologies and religions throughout the entire world.  There is not enough information that the listen can be considered an expert on any and all of these, but there is more than enough information for me to get a broad overview of these stories, cultures, and beliefs.  If you are listening to this, or thinking about listening to this and very religious of the Christian/Jewish faith it might do you well to remember that these lecturers are speaking strictly from an academic viewpoint.  There are portions that left me uneasy in some of the suppositions that the lectors made, but keeping in mind that Social Sciences such as these are hardly exact helped.
I thoroughly enjoyed listening to these lectures, though admittedly I do not feel secure enough to take a test on these cultures.  This was a very entertaining listen.


In Banned Books Scavenger Hunt…

A library decided to promote banned books week by putting black covers on their banned books with a 1-4 word description about why the book was banned.  Such as “Anti-White”, “Smut”, “Filthy” etc.  There are clues that help lead you to the books, and the scavenger hunt has been more popular than expected.

As was pointed out if you see a book cover that has “Smut” on the front you are almost compelled to pick it up.

This is a great way to generate interest in banned books. Taking the concept of brown paper wrappers, which has been done in the past, and taking it one step further.  By flaunting why these books were ‘banned’ in some libraries it allows attention to be drawn while letting patrons decide for themselves if the reasoning is even tangentially valid.



Carla Hayden New Librarian of Congress

Hayden is the 14th Librarian of Congress and only the third to be a professional librarian.  She speaks a great deal about digitizing collections and of librarians as the original search engines.  There is some mention of the Patriot act, and I have to agree.  Sometimes when people search for  things like Jihad they are just trying to inform themselves, not join up with a radical group.  I like that she is planning on making more information available to the public.  Though it was not mentioned in this article I have to add that I do like what the government is doing, ensuring that when they have funded research the results are made available to the public.  In the past the government funded research was published in journals which would cost hundreds if not thousands to subscribe to.

Edward Snowden…Privacy Argument

This article consists entirely of a few quotes from a speech that Snowden gave about privacy and free speech in an interview about the movie based on his life.  His comments boil down to potentially mis-attributing the quote, “If you have nothing to hide then you have nothing to fear.” to a Nazi Minister of Propeganda (admittedly the article does state that there is no concrete proof that this minister is the first person to state it), and that privacy is the fountain from which all of our freedoms spring.

I am not certain where I fall on this argument.  While I do see that privacy to make mistakes is important, I do not see the government trying to install cameras or microphones in my home so I do feel that I have some privacy left. I think that a lot of this is public versus private, if you do something in public (even if you do not think that anyone is watching) should you be called on it?  If you are committing an illegal act in public should you be called on it?

I am also a very strong advocate of privacy within the Library realm as well, but in reality there are limits to that also.  At the public library I work at we do not allow patrons to view pornographic materials.  It is a public library and we have kids everywhere.  You have the right to view that, just not in public.  So to enforce this we have the ability to view the patrons screens.  There is potential for abuse, but we tell the patrons it is not a secure connection and anyone over your shoulder can see what you are doing.

All of this is beside the point when it comes to Snowden anyway, he just revealed state secrets to our enemies endangering thousands of soldiers lives to ‘prove a point’.

Where is the line between your right to your freedom of speech and their rights to live?