Friday, September 29, 2017

10 Most Farfetched Reasons to Ban a Book

The American Library Association Office of Intellectual Freedom has composed a list of the ten most far-fetched (silliest, irrational, illogical) reasons to ban a book.  They are:

  1. “Encourages children to break dishes so they won’t have to dry them.” (A Light in the Attic, by Shel Silverstien)
  2. “It caused a wave of rapes.” (Arabian Nights, or Thousand and One Nights, anonymous)
  3. “If there is a possibility that something might be controversial, then why not eliminate it?” (Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, by Dee Brown)
  4. “Tarzan was ‘living in sin’ with Jane.” (Tarzan, by Edgar Rice Burroughs)
  5. “It is a real ‘downer.’” (Diary of Anne Frank, by Anne Frank)
  6. “The basket carried by Little Red Riding Hood contained a bottle of wine, which condones the use of alcohol.” (Little Red Riding Hood, by Jacob Grimm and Wilhelm K. Grimm)
  7. “One bunny is white and the other is black and this ‘brainwashes’ readers into accepting miscegenation.” (The Rabbit’s Wedding, by Garth Williams)
  8. “It is a religious book and public funds should not be used to purchase religious books.” ( Evangelical Commentary on the Bible, by Walter A. Elwell, ed.)
  9. “A female dog is called a bitch.” (My Friend Flicka, by Mary O’Hara)
  10. “An unofficial version of the story of Noah’s Ark will confuse children.” (Many Waters, by Madeleine C. L’Engle)

Thursday, September 28, 2017

#TBT in the Archives 9/28/17: World War I

In April 1916 after it became clear a policy of non-intervention was no longer possible, the United States declared war against Germany, entering what was then known as the Great War. Men and women across the nation mobilized in support of the nation's war effort, and the Cumberland Valley State Normal School was no exception.

Most young men entering the armed services were conscripted, though certainly a large number enlisted by choice. In October 1917, Principal Ezra Lehman reported 25 to 30 male students had been conscripted since the last school year. Additionally, several women had been pulled out of school by their local school districts to begin teaching before finishing their own studies - a move made necessary by the conscription of male teachers. Other women had not returned to school because of the need to make money for their families after the departure of men.

Additionally, football prospects for the 1917-1918 season looked dim because of a lack of players.

Not all was bad, according to the Normal School Herald. The student body readily embraced war work, patriotism, and rationing.

This article in the January 1918 Normal School Herald details the patriotism on display at weekly meetings of the Philo Literary Society.

This article from 1917-1918 reports the food rationing taking place at C.V.S.N.S. during World War II.

Students in sewing class eagerly completed items for men at the front.

By fall of 1918, the school had settled into the rhythm of the war, and regularly published lists of men serving in all branches of the armed service. In the October 1918 issue, four full pages contained the names of men in service.

Some of the men who served in the Great War.

The school was also beginning to experience the effects of the Spanish influenza epidemic that ravaged the world in 1918-1919. And, it soon became clear Shippensburg alumni and students were among those killed in the war: Frank Carbaugh, '17; Arthur D. Noll, '17; Charles D. Kell, '16; and Harry Taylor.

A poem written by alum Frank Carbaugh while convalescing in a military hospital in France. He died in August 1918.

The Class of 1917 donated a bronze tablet in honor of the Shippensburg men lost during World War I. Initially the plaque was placed in the Old Main Chapel. In 2017, it is in the lobby of Memorial Auditorium.

When the war ended on November 11, 1918, the campus (newly reopened after being closed for a few weeks for the flu) held a parade to celebrate, complete with class marches and musical selections. For the time being, there was peace.

Cumberland 1919. Shippensburg, PA.
The Normal School Herald, October 1917-July 1919. Shippensburg, PA

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Banned Books Week: Top 10 Challenged Books 2016

Artwork courtesy of the American Library Association,

In 2016 there were 323 book challenges recorded by the American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom (ALA OIF). This was an increase from 2015's 275 challenges recorded by OIF. The Top 10 most challenged books for 2016 were:
  1. This One Summer written by Mariko Tamaki and illustrated by Jillian Tamaki
    Reasons: challenged because it includes LGBT characters, drug use and profanity, and it was considered sexually explicit with mature themes
  2. Drama written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier
    Reasons: challenged because it includes LGBT characters, was deemed sexually explicit, and was considered to have an offensive political viewpoint
  3. George written by Alex Gino
    Reasons: challenged because it includes a transgender child, and the “sexuality was not appropriate at elementary levels”
  4. I Am Jazz written by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, and illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas
    Reasons: challenged because it portrays a transgender child and because of language, sex education, and offensive viewpoints
  5. Two Boys Kissing written by David LevithanReasons: challenged because its cover has an image of two boys kissing, and it was considered to include sexually explicit LGBT content
  6. Looking for Alaska written by John GreenReason: challenged for a sexually explicit scene that may lead a student to “sexual experimentation”
  7. Big Hard Sex Criminals written by Matt Fraction and illustrated by Chip ZdarskyReason: challenged because it was considered sexually explicit
  8. Make Something Up: Stories You Can’t Unread written by Chuck PalahniukReason: challenged for profanity, sexual explicitness, and being “disgusting and all around offensive”
  9. Little Bill (series) written by Bill Cosby and illustrated by Varnette P. HoneywoodReason: challenged because of criminal sexual allegations against the author
  10. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow RowellReason: challenged for offensive language
Looking for Alaska, I Am Jazz, and Two Boys Kissing were seen in the Top Ten Most Challenged Books of 2015.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Be a Rebel Reader!

The American Library Association invites you to speak out against censorship this Banned Books Week. Join the Rebel Reader Twitter Tournament and challenge yourself to complete action items on Twitter to be entered into a drawing for fantastic literary prizes. Similar to the Triwizard Tournament in the banned and challenged Harry Potter series, these tasks will test your creativity and knowledge.

Rebel Reader Twitter Logo
Follow the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom on Twitter @OIF
Tweet any of the following action items using the hashtag #RebelReader during Banned Books Week (September 24-30) for a chance to win an array of literary prizes.

1. Take a selfie with a banned or challenged book; 2. Share a video of yourself talking about censorship or reading from a banned book or challenged book; 3. Post a quote from a favorite banned or challenged book; 4. Share a story about an educator who helped you learn the power of words; 5. Take a photo of a completed ALA Banned Books Week coloring sheet; 6. Take a photo of yourself with any Words Have Power swag; 7. Share a link to your local library's homepage or book selection policy; 8. Tweet some love at a banned author from this list:

For contest details, visit the American Library's Association Rebel Reader Contest page.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

'Ask Us Anything' @ Ezra Lehman Memorial Library

'Ask Us Anything' exhibit explores history of Ezra Lehman Memorial Library

‘Ask Us Anything’: 50 Years at Ezra Lehman Memorial Library, opening this week on the second floor of the library, celebrates the 50th anniversary of the library during the 2017-2018 academic year. The exhibit, featuring artifacts and photos from Shippensburg University Archives & Special Collections, traces the history of libraries on campus, the decision to build the new library, and the present library building. Also featured are images of the library as it appeared in 1968 compared to today.
In September of 1967, Shippensburg State College (SSC) students returning to classes were greeted by the hum of construction vehicles moving earth near the center of campus. Construction was nothing new, SSC was in the middle of explosive growth thanks to rapidly rising enrollments. But the building rising during the fall 1967 was to affect the campus for generations. The new Ezra Lehman Memorial Library was well under way.
The new building, a modular-style, three-floor space, dramatically increased the capacity of this campus resource. Since 1931, the library had been in what is today Huber Arts Center. That building, too, was purpose built for books and studying. Consisting of three floors, it had balconies, more than 100,000 books, and study space for students, but it wasn’t enough.
In 1961, librarian Alma Winton joined others on campus to form a committee to update the library. At first, the plan was to expand the existing library. However, that spring, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania announced Shippensburg would be one of five schools across the system to receive up to $2 million to build new libraries to accommodate expanding enrollment and the need to update to national library standards.
The groundbreaking was held in August 1966, and by September 1967, the new library was under roof and contractors worked on finishing touches. By December, Winton and her staff had control of the space and began filling it with shelves and furniture. In May 1968, the campus community came together for a Book Walk to transport nearly 75,000 volumes from the old library to the new, and the new Ezra Lehman Memorial Library opened as the 1967-1968 school year closed.
The exhibit is free to view and is located just outside the stairwell on the second floor. For more information, contact Archives & Special Collections via email: or phone: 717-477-1123 (x3357).

Thursday, September 14, 2017

#TBT in the Archives 9/14/17: Class songs

Hearing the opening notes of the Alma Mater never fails to inspire a twinge in the heart of proud students of Shippensburg University. The simple refrain and melody recall crisp fall days, favorite classes, parties, and football games.

Many students can even recall their high school alma maters, and grad students can probably sing the opening lines of their undergraduate anthems.

Shippensburg University's Alma Mater

In addition to the Alma Mater familiar to students today, past Shippensburg alumni composed special "Class Songs" to celebrate their time in the Cumberland Valley. Alumni enjoyed sharing these songs with each other both during their time as students and during reunions years later.

The Cumberland Valley State Normal School's Class of 1877 had both a "Class Song" and a "Tree Song" composed for their graduation.

Many of the historical lyrics expressed sadness that the class was about to graduate and expressed hope classmates would meet again.

Class of 1892 class song

The class of 1893 included their class song in their Class Day gathering during Commencement Week.

Class of 1893 Class Day program with class song.

Sometimes, class songwriters went so far as to write out the musical notation for the melody so classmates could play it at home for years to come.

Class of 1918 class song

And lest Cumberland Valley songsters felt limited to nostalgic lyrics mourning the end of classes, various other songs could be heard on campus especially during athletic games. Programs for homecoming games in the 1920s included a variety of yells and chants for fans to yell during the game.

School yells and songs from the 1925 homecoming football game.

Class Files, Shippensburg University Archives & Special Collections, Shippensburg, PA.
Commencement programs, Record Group 4, Sub-group 1, Series 5, Shippensburg University Archives & Special Collections, Shippensburg, PA.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Intellectual Property & The Value of Information

According to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), "Intellectual property (IP) refers to creations of the mind, such as inventions; literary and artistic works; designs; and symbols, names and imaged used in commerce."  However, not all intellectual property is the same.  In the United States, IP can sometimes fall into the categories of copyright, patents, or trademarks, and these categories may come with legal protections that allow the creator of the IP to earn recognition or financial benefits from the things they create or invent.


In the United States, copyright is the legal term that explains the rights creators have over their literary and artistic works.  Things that fall under copyright protections include books, paintings, maps, computer programs and music.


In the United States, patents are exclusive rights given to a person or persons for an invention.  Whoever owns the patent gets to decide if and how other people can use the invention.  In turn, the patent owner has to publish a document that makes all the technical details about the invention available to the public.


In the United States, trademarks are signs that make it easy for people to distinguish goods or services that come from one company from goods or services coming from a different company.

Other Countries

In countries throughout the world, intellectual property rights and protections differ.  The International Property Rights Index for 2016 shows the United States is ranked 15th in the world for the security of IP rights.  Finland, New Zealand, and Luxembourg has the most secure property rights by this same ranking scale, while countries like Bangaladesh, Myanmar, and Venezuela fall at the bottom of the rankings.  Each country has its own unique legislation that governs how intellectual property, patents, and copyright works.  If you plan to create something, it's a good idea to check out the government protections available to you.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

#TBT in the Archives 9/7/17: Red Raiders Marching Band

Falling temperatures and colorful leaves mean a return to classes and papers for most Shippensburg students. But fall also means the return of football games, and with them, the Shippensburg University Red Raiders Marching Band!

Weeks before classes begin, members of the marching band return to campus for band camp. While there, instrumentalists, percussionists, and color guard all work together to learn the year's field show, spruce up pep band music, and rehearse for hours. The result is the most important part of any football game - school spirit.

The Red Raiders Marching Band plays at the homecoming game in 2014.

In the service of growing school spirit, the Shippensburg band program was launched in 1924 at Cumberland Valley State Normal School when a band of students got together to play pep band music at home athletic games and pep meetings. They didn't have uniforms, practice space, or nice instruments. After the football season ended, they converted themselves to a concert band.

The 1923-1924 C.V.S.N.S. school band.

By the next year, the band had gotten uniforms and instruments, and was granted practice space.

The 1930-1931 college band.

Throughout the next 50 years, the marching band became an integral part of home athletic contests, providing a soundtrack to wins and consolation during losses. They changed their uniforms several times, and in 1937, fully admitted women to the band and created a majorette and color guard.

During the 1970s, band members had a once in a lifetime experience when President-elect Jimmy Carter asked the group to perform in the 1977 inaugural parade in Washington D.C. Carter and his wife saw the band perform in Harrisburg during the 1976 campaign and Mrs. Carter enjoyed them so much she asked her husband to invite them to the inauguration. Though the band represented Pennsylvania in the parade, they received no state funding for their trip.

The Red Raiders Marching Band in the January 20, 1977 inaugural parade in Washington, D.C.

A letter of appreciation to the band from President Jimmy Carter.

The marching band continues to provide support to the football team at home games during fall semesters in addition to traveling to exhibitions and performances in Pennsylvania and Maryland each year.

Shippensburg University Archives & Special Collections has a variety of photographs of band activities throughout the school's history, including in a full collection of school yearbooks. For more information and to do research at the archives, email

Cumberland 1924, 107
Cumberland 1931, 160.
Cumberland 1977, 89, 91.
Cumberland 2015, 45
Shippensburg University Red Raiders Marching Band, "80 Years of School Spirit and Pride!," Record Group 18.6, File box 2, Folder 13, Shippensburg University Archives & Special Collections, Shippensburg, PA.
Slate, January 18, 1977.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Temporary Access to Library Databases

The library is experiencing technical difficulties from nationwide issues. Please use this Brief Database List when the main database list is still down.