Fill the hours more meaningfully

mount washington kentucky water tower

“The month of November makes me feel that life is passing more quickly. In an effort to slow it down, I try to fill the hours more meaningfully.” – Henry Rollins

Is it just me, or are the short work weeks the ones filled with craziness? It’s been a crazy busy week around these parts, and it’ll be even crazier as we head toward Thanksgiving.

Anyway, here we go…

10 Things Worth Sharing

This week’s 10 things…

BONUS: I’ve been jamming to this album from Azymuth, a Brazilian jazz-funk band. It’s fantastic and makes for great background music while you work

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The Battle of Access: Mississippi’s New Law and the Fight for Information Freedom

guy montag burning books

In a world where information is increasingly digital and accessible, a new law in Mississippi is causing a stir. The law, Mississippi Code 39-3-25, part of House Bill 1315, has effectively banned anyone under the age of 18 from accessing digital materials made available through public and school libraries without explicit parental or guardian permission. This move has sparked a debate about the morality of censorship and the right to access information.

The law, which went into effect on July 1, 2023, has left libraries across the state scrambling to comply. It mandates that vendors providing digital resources must verify that all their materials comply with the state’s definition of “obscenity.” This definition is broad and includes any material that contains representations or descriptions of various sexual acts, cruelty, violence, or anything deemed “likely to be injurious or harmful to a child.”

The implications of this law are far-reaching. Any vendor with materials in their system depicting sexual reproduction, queerness, or even images of nude female breasts – often part of sexual education, reproductive education, and biology and anatomy books for those under 18 – would be out of compliance with the law. As a result, platforms like Hoopla and Overdrive, which are not set up to change access based on age or varying laws by the municipality, may have to shut down access altogether.

This law has been seen by many as a step towards limiting public goods like libraries and creating systems where young people in some states have access to a world of knowledge and resources, while others are shut out entirely. It disproportionately affects those with the least privileges – those in unstable homes, those without regular internet access, and those without active parents or guardians in their lives.

The First Regional Public Library has already posted an announcement on its homepage regarding the changes, and the Vicksburg Public Library is still figuring out how the law will impact its patrons’ access to digital materials. For now, they’ve developed a new system of library card distribution, requiring those under 18 to have parental or guardian consent to access materials.

Mississippi is not the first state to limit access to materials and place the onus of compliance on the vendors. Texas is undergoing similar changes, and it’s likely that this will lead to similar, if not more dire, lockouts of material access for students statewide.

This move by Mississippi and other states highlights the ongoing battle over access to information and the role of libraries in our society. As we continue to navigate the digital age, the question remains: who gets to decide what information is accessible and to whom?

Read the original article

The Eclectic Educator is a free resource for all who are passionate about education and creativity. If you enjoy the content and want to support the newsletter, consider becoming a paid subscriber. Your support helps keep the insights and inspiration coming!

The Library is a Safe Place

I had no idea that Wil Wheaton graced my home state with his presence back in March at the Southern Kentucky Book Fest. I can’t tell you how bummed I am that I missed seeing him speak.

Neverminding my failure to stay on top of cool things, Mr. Wheaton was nice enough to post a copy of his remarks on his site. I’m just a few years younger than Wil and not only empathize with his childhood experiences but can say I had my own version of them.

I also totally agree that “the library is a safe place” for everyone.

In order to survive, I disassociated for much of my childhood, but I clearly remember the books. That’s where I found comfort, companionship, inspiration and validation. It’s where the imagination that powers everything I do creatively in my life today was born. And it all started in that library, with that librarian. She was one of the first people I can remember asking me, “What do you like? What’s important to you? What do you want to know more about? How can I help you find it?”

That moment was so special and meaningful, not just then, but for years after. When I got older, I began to learn that so much of what had been presented to me as truth in school wasn’t just false, it was propaganda. I remember the first time I saw a banned books display at a bookstore in the mall when we were on location for Stand By Me. I wanted to read all of them, because I’d figured out that if They didn’t want me to, there must be something pretty great inside.

I read To Kill A Mockingbird, and began thinking about racism and injustice.

I read 1984 and Brave New World, and began thinking about autocrats, and what it meant to be truly free to choose our own destinies.

I read Johnny Got His Gun, and All Quiet on the Western Front, and saw firsthand the horrors of war.

– Wil Wheaton

You can read his full remarks right here.