Mollie Freier (AIS-Library) presented her paper titled "Harry Potter, Censorship, the Librarian and the Book" at the Popular Culture Association national conference March 19-22 in San Francisco. In her abstract, Freier wrote that the Harry Potter novels are famous not only for their bestselling stature in children’s literature, but for the number of challenges that have been made to their being on library shelves. Freier said one would think that J.K. Rowling would be grateful to librarians for fighting these challenges, but books, libraries and the librarian are presented negatively in her novels or at best in an equivocal light. Although books often contain the clues needed for the mystery to be solved, in one novel the book is actually the villain, and in other novels, books are presented as dangerous things that perhaps ought to be kept from children. The library at Hogwarts is apparently quite difficult to use, since many important works are locked away from students and indexes and other finding aids are never mentioned. And Madam Pince, the librarian at Hogwarts, is presented as the stereotypical librarian: protective of books and quiet, and unhelpful to patrons.
Beverly Matherne (English) was one of five poets to read from the anthology French Connections: A Gathering of Franco-American Poets at the New England Poetry Conference, held at University of Massachusetts at Lowell. Published by Louisiana Literature Press in 2007, the book features the work of poets from Quebec, the Maritimes, New England, Louisiana and elsewhere in North America. The anthology is available on Amazon.com, and, when you access it, the first line of Matherne’s prose poem “Madame Brignac” comes up as a teaser.
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