Category Archives: Library News

Voting Starts October 6th Register by October 5th

This is a multiple-anniversary year for suffrage in our nation! Indiana residents must register to vote by October 5th. See our state voting requirements here.

In the last century, only 50-60 percent of eligible citizens voted in United States presidential elections. It was around 80 percent in the previous century.

PercentVoted

According to the Constitution of the United States, voting is a right and a privilege. It is not mandatory. Our Constitutional Congress followed English Common Law, which restricted voting by class well into the 19th century: the UK National Archives states that in 1780 less than 3 percent of the population could vote.

U.S. citizens have never voted directly for President: we vote for a slate of Electors. The Supreme Court affirmed during its last session in Chiafalo v. Washington that these Electors may not change, but must vote for the candidate they pledged to. Read the decision here.

In the early days of our republic, Election Day was a holiday in many states and remains so in some, including Indiana. That it is not a federal holiday today is a cause of concern, as people’s work schedules often prevent their voting. Our subscription database Opposing Viewpoints in Context covers current controversies over elections in the United States.

Originally, citizens in different states voted at different times for their presidential Electors, from the beginning of November up to the meeting of the Electoral College in December. In 1845 Congress passed the Presidential Election Day Act, setting the date for “the Tuesday following the first Monday in November.” Elections for the House of Representatives were then moved to this same day.

In 2020 we celebrate several anniversaries for voting rights. African-American men were enfranchised in 1870 by the Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution. Women were granted suffrage in by the Nineteenth Amendment, ratified by the states in 1920.

The 1924 Snyder Act granted citizenship to Native Americans born in the U.S., and thus conferred on them the right to vote. However many states still denied Native people enfranchisement. The state of Maine was the last to comply, prompted by the Voting Rights Act of 1965. This act prohibited the use of poll taxes and tests that were infamously used to disenfranchise African Americans.

2020 is also the 50th anniversary of the Kent State shootings, when students protesting the Vietnam War were killed and wounded by Ohio National Guardsmen. Read a historical summary of the event from Kent State faculty here. At that time, men could be drafted into military service at age 18 – three years before the legal voting age of 21. A majority of people came to feel this was unfair: “Old enough to fight, old enough to vote” was the slogan. The Twenty-Sixth Amendment to the Constitution, quickly proposed and passed during the spring of 1971, lowered the voting age to 18.

This federal government webpage provides general information about who can vote in federal elections. Some citizens are excluded.

Current voting rights campaigns are focusing on felons, whose voting rights depend on their state government. Only Maine and Vermont allow imprisoned persons to vote. Most other states restore voting rights after sentence has been served, but the person must re-register. And some states deny felons the right to vote indefinitely. To find out more about the voting rights of convicted felons, visit this webpage from the bipartisan National Council of State Legislatures.

During the last year, arguments have raged about voting by mail. The current bill in the House of Representatives, the Universal Right to Vote by Mail Act, was first introduced over ten years ago. You can track legislation using the website Congress.gov: simply choose Legislation at the left of the search box and type in your search terms.

Absentee ballots are also handled by mail. They can be requested in all states; some states require that an excuse be given in writing. In Indiana, absentee ballot applications must be received by your county board of elections by October 22nd this year.  Here is absentee ballot information for Indiana voters.

The Library of Congress has primary source document sets with teaching materials for all the presidential elections. This webpage contains many useful links to their other resources on elections.  These include a slideshow of past presidential campaign posters  (requires Flash player). And the National Archives maintains  links to all the Presidential Libraries.

Sources used in this article:

The American Presidency Project. University of California at Santa Barbara. (n.d.). Voter turnout in presidential elections. https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/statistics/data/voter-turnout-in-presidential-elections

National Archives (Great Britain). (n.d.). Getting the vote. http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/pathways/citizenship/struggle_democracy/getting_vote.htm

Book Review: Frankissstein: A love story by Jeanette Winterson

In Frankissstein: A Love Story, Jeanette Winterson, author of mind-expanding, gender-bending, time-shifting fiction, brings to life a new creature cobbled together and electrified by language. 

Picture the scene: Nineteen-year-old Mary Shelley is vacationing at Villa Diodati in the company of her stepsister Clair Clairmont Romantic bad boy poets Percy Shelley and Lord Byron, and Byron’s physician William Polidori. The summer is dark and damp; nothing stays dry and even her underclothes are molding. Then one evening Byron challenges his guests to write ghost stories, leading Mary to have a monstrous dream that sparks her most famous work—Frankenstein, a novel that has endured for over 200 years. 

Winterson weaves this story through Frankissstein. Mary has already lost so much—her mother, her firstborn—and considers these losses as she experiences the pains and promises of love (“How would I love you, my lovely boy, if you had no body?” she muses to Percy, and then, “I cannot divide you.”) 

But Winterson does not leave readers in 1816. Instead, she time hops to the present (the future?), and fills this space, too, with love, loss, and philosophical speculation. She populates Frankissstein with a transgender doctor (Ry Shelley), an AI-obsessed professor (Victor Stein), a sex doll inventor and marketer (Ron Lord), and an evangelist converted to view sex dolls as an opportunity for doing God’s work (Claire). 

In her 2019 article, “Why Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is More Relevant Now Than Ever”, Winterson asks: “What happens when our newly created life forms can copy themselves, are immortal, can update their own software and make their own decisions? Will they feel remorse? Will humanity really be worth keeping?”  

Frankissstein: A Love Story examines these questions unburdened by a need for answers.

50th Anniversary: Pride Marches

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Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Pexels.com

June is LGBTQIA Pride month. This commemorates, in part, the June 28th, 1969 resistance by gay and trans people to a police raid on a popular bar, Stonewall, in New York City.

One year after the Stonewall resistance, a parade was held in New York City to commemorate it. Called the Christopher Street Liberation Day Parade, after the district where many gay bars were located, it is considered the first Pride Parade. The Library of Congress has recently released online the documentary video of this parade made by Lilli Vincenz.

This year, fifty years after that parade, we are celebrating affirmation by the Supreme Court in “Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia …”  that gay, lesbian, transgender, intersex, and queer people may not be denied employment on the basis of sex. This is an interpretation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. One case that created precedent for this determination was brought against Ivy Tech Community College. Read about it at FindLaw: Hively v Ivy Tech And read Ivy Tech’s current statement on diversity, equity, and belonging here.

The Library of Congress has gathered resources on a Pride Month research guide.  This includes links to their collections relating to famous and significant LGBTQIA people: Walt Whitman, Aaron Copland, Margaret Mead … and so many more. It is a reminder of the important contributions that LGBTQIA people make to our society.

Your Ivy Tech library has many LGBTQIA resources. Begin by searching the broad term sexual minority in Discover or IvyCat and limit the search results by format, date, additional key words. For help with more targeted searches, contact your librarian.

Explore Resources on Faith and Sexuality, compiled by Dawn M. Burns of the Ivy Tech Warsaw Academic and Learning Resource Center

Explore the Digital Transgender Archives online: https://www.digitaltransgenderarchive.net/

“Sexual minority” is the Library of Congress Subject Heading applied to LGBTQIA resources. Read about resistance to this, and other classification issues, here: Cataloging Lab and Homosaurus

While we pause to express pride, we know there is more work to do.

#pridemonth2020 #pridemonth

Welcome to Summer Semester 2020

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We welcome our new students, and welcome back continuing students to Fort Wayne and Warsaw. The librarians and library staff are available online to help you have your best semester. We are here for our Professors, too!

Librarians are available for online class instruction, 1-on-1 online meetings, and quick help via chat and email. Find out how here.

The library buildings are still closed, but we have millions of articles online and hundreds of thousands of ebooks. Plus videos, audio, images, and more. In our databases you can filter for scholarly resources and most recent content. All these are preselected to support our courses, so using them will save you time.

We have guides to the best resources for many subjects, and guides to formatting papers, charts, and citations. See them here. Professors can ask for specific resources to be included on a guide.

Our ILL service is currently processing journal articles and ebook chapters. Our databases are adding new ebooks. Both Fort Wayne library and Warsaw library have new websites, and our IvyCat catalog will be updated soon with a new interface and functionalities.

Visit us online, and let us know how we can help you!

To Overcome Racism, We Must Talk About Race

Talking, and listening to others talk, about race is difficult. But we must keep those conversations going as we work together to overcome racism, because we will only find answers to our social issues by learning from each other.

We find this resource from the National Museum of African American History and Culture helpful. It is concise, with options to go more in depth. It is for educators, parents, anyone who may need to lead a conversation about race, and individuals wondering where to start.

screenshot-nmaahc.si.edu-2020.06.04-10_45_15

Book Review: The Facts of The Matter: Looking Past Today’s Rhetoric on the Environment and Responsible Development By David Parish

This is a thought-provoking book from an author who worked for many years as a lobbyist for companies in the area of natural resource development.

Here he lays out a strategy for working to address today’s environmental and societal problems.

He believes that progress can be made if people are willing to listen to the “other side”. Too often, we get locked into an “us vs them” mentality.

He points out problems (and solutions) surrounding news media, politicians, and groups with agendas working on both sides of an issue. He does not hesitate to go after both sides.

But he is hopeful that our problems can be addressed. While he lobbied for big corporations, he is also a strong advocate for the environment. He argues how changes can be made that help the environment, improve people’s standard of living, and raise up entire societies.

I learned a lot from this book. I had never really thought about where “the stuff” to make electronics and power our country comes from. Zinc, copper, molybdenum, rare earth elements are vital to these industries. And with more and more demand for power and electronics, we will need more and more of these products. So we cannot do away with mining or the other industries that generate power. Mr. Parish argues that the production of natural resources is changing and can be done in an environmentally safe way.

Whether or not you agree with everything he says, it will make you think.

Book Review: The Client by John Grisham

Here is an oldie but a goodie. This is one of my favorite Grisham books.

An 11 year old boy learns a secret. Murder! Now he is being chased by the mob and the Feds. So Mark (the young boy) decides he needs a lawyer.

Enter Reggie Love. She has been practicing for a whole four years. How can she refuse this most unusual case?

But the Feds and the mob discover that Reggie will do whatever must be done to protect “the client”.

They are no match for her or this streetwise kid.

Book Review: On the Clock: What Low-Wage Work Did to Me and How It Drives America Insane, by Emily Guendelsberger

“I get to leave.” That was the mantra going through Emily Guendelsberger’s mind as she endured almost a year of low-wage jobs. Unlike her suffering co-workers at Amazon, Convergys, (a call center used by AT&T) and a San Francisco McDonalds, Emily knew that her time at each position would only last a few months.

When her newspaper folded, reporter Emily Guendelsberger decided it was the optimum time to fling herself into the low-wage workplace, to see for herself the indignities and despair dished out to those at the bottom of the labor market. A year later, she left with burns, a recurrence of PTSD, bad feet, a repetitive-motion injury to her wrist, and never-ending respect for the people stuck in such thankless jobs.

Like many people, Guendelsberger worked fast food in her teen years. She was raised on the rule “If you have time to lean, you have time to clean.” She thought she had a good idea of what would be asked of her, but instead she entered a new era of technological surveillance. Time management studies, scheduling software, and the ability to track every minute of a worker’s day has made even the thought of having “time to lean” an impossibility.

Amazon stocks vending machines with pain killers workers can access with a swipe of their badge, because that wastes less time than going to see the nurse. Convergys has mind-numbing acronyms and procedures that must be precisely followed – until they’re changed the next week. There’s always a line at McDonalds and the McFlurry machine is always broken because the algorithm scheduling workers ensures that no one has a minute of extra time for preventative maintenance. Fed up enough to quit? Go ahead, no one cares. Constant turnover is just one more accepted business practice.

On the Clock has terrific insights about how these types of jobs deal out stress and despair along with low wages. Guendelsberger provides clear explanations on the beginnings of time management studies, human anxiety, and the current business practices that suck all the personal control and joy out of a multitude of jobs. Why do we have our present government? Why are people so stressed out? Why is there an opioid crisis? Read this book and you might begin to understand why.

Ink Cloud 2020

Click HERE to download!

It is my pleasure to present to you Ink Cloud 2020.  It has been a gift during quarantine to put this edition together for those who were able to participate.  

Please take a few moments to enjoy the transformative effects of art created by Ivy Tech students, faculty and staff. We do not typically receive much traffic on this blog, but if you do stop by and one of these poets or artists reaches you, please let them know in the comments!

Let’s give everyone a reason to keep creating and sharing.

Book Review: Devotion: An Epic Story of Heroism, Friendship, and Sacrifice by Adam Makos

Devotion: An Epic Story of Heroism, Friendship, and Sacrifice by [Adam Makos]

This is the true story of Jesse Brown, the U.S. Navy’s first black carrier pilot.

It is a story of an unconventional friendship that developed between the son of a poor sharecropper from Mississippi and a rich white kid from New England.

It is a war story from the Korean War. It portrays the horrors and heroism that can be found when nations collide. Being a true story, the good guys don’t always win.

But it is also a love story. You will follow Jesse as he meets the love of his life and starts a family.

This story will make you laugh, cry, shake your head at events that happened. But it is for me ultimately an inspiring story of a young black man who overcame prejudice and racism to make history.

Warning: This book is an unflinching telling of Jesse’s life. It begins in the South of the 1920s. Some readers today may find it hard reading about what Jesse and his family endured. But you do not learn from history by running away from it.