Category: Education

Badass Female Librarians Delivered Books on Horseback in 1930s

If you are someone who is excited about female empowerment as I am, then you’re going to love this! According to History Daily, during the Great Depression, unemployment rates soared, and in turn people endured extreme poverty, so many had little access to books.

At the time, Franklin Roosevelt was trying to resolve the Great Depression, and his Works Progress Administration created The Pack Horse Library Initiative to improve American literacy and therefore chances of employment. The librarians were mostly women who lived in the counties they served. Public schools in the local areas contributed books, magazines, newspapers and any other reading materials available.

The ‘bookwomen’ were paid $28 a month and were responsible for their own food and supplies, and horse. These librarians travelled over mountains to isolated homes—through blizzards and mud to make sure everyone had a book in their hands. The women would ride as far as 120 miles, and at times if the locations were close by, they would walk with their horses, holding on to their reins. In 1943, the program ended because employment increased massively during World War II, and nearly one thousand pack horse librarians had served 1.5 million people in forty-eight Kentucky counties!


Check out the photos below!


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See more amazing photos of these heroic librarians on History Daily!


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Iowa Man Pleads Not Guilty to Burning LGBTQ+ Library Books

LGBTQ+ book lovers and book lovers in general are not impressed with Iowa resident Paul Dorr, who released a video on Facebook Live condemning Orange City library, as he burned LGBTQ+ books. This egregious act of vandalism took place on October 19, the first day of a gay pride festival.



The comments on the Facebook post appeared mostly to encourage and praise Dorr’s actions.


Here is the list of books that Dorr burned in the video:


Two Boys Kissing, a young adult novel by David Levithan.

Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress, a children’s book about a boy who likes to wear a dress by Christine Baldacchino.

This Day in Junea picture book about a pride parade, by Gayle E. Pitman.

Families, Families, Families!, by Suzanne Lang, & Max Lang, a book about ‘non-traditional’ families.


American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Iowa, Mark Stringer, expressed his frustration of what occurred, “Frankly, I found it disgusting. We are disturbed to see this.” He went on to say:


“Burning books from a public library is a clear attempt to shut down the open sharing and discussion of ideas. It’s one person, or maybe a group, deciding that they’re the gatekeeper of ideas for the rest of the public.”


The sixty-two-year-old religious activist pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor criminal mischief, and he will be in court on March, 26. If he is found guilty, he could face a fine of $625 and up to 30 days in jail.


In February, psychology professor, Terry Chi started a petition for Orange City Public Library to protect ‘Christian values’ by separating LGBTQ+ from other books in the library. Sioux County Conservatives (SCC) backed the petition, however they jeopardized it by attaching an offensive flyer, which used, in Chi’s words, ‘Inflammatory rhetoric,’ and resulted in Chi disassociating himself from it. The flier listed three out of four books that Paul Dorr burned, Two Boys KissingMorris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress, and This Day In June. The library responded by changing their book classification system and classifying books by subjects, subcategories, rather than the author’s last name. When the video first went around the residency, lawyers with the ACLU of Iowa, and the board eventually decided to put the books on the shelves, and library leaders state that the books do not violate content policy.


Dorr said that he would not pay for the damages, however his actions have lead to donations of hundreds of dollars being made to the library.


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Illinois High School Debuts Literary Murals for English Department

Students at Mundelein High School returned to class after winter break to find that their halls decked out with some pretty interesting artwork.


The Illinois school debuted new literary themed murals for the school’s English department, with each mural based on a book that is treasured by the teachers who work in that department.


The six books are All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely, Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall, Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë, Beartown: A Novel by Fredrik Backman, Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, and October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard by Leslea Newman.


Since the school reopened on Tuesday, the murals have gone viral and have received a highly positive response online. Speaking to the Daily Herald, the school’s spokesperson Ron Girard said he is hopeful that more murals will be added soon.


“This project is a great way to motivate students to read more and to begin conversations about their reading, even in the hallways.”


Here are some photos of the murals:


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If this doesn’t motivate the students to read more, then I don’t know what will.



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Here’s Why English as a Major Is Slowly Declining

The analysis by the Association of English, or ADE, part of the Modern Language Association, reports that Bachelors degrees conferred to English majors are down 20% since 2012.


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The peak for English majors was between 1991 to 2012, averaging about 52,684 per year, whereas between 1989 and 2016, the amount of English major degrees earned at American universities dropped to 42,868. The data from the National Center for Education Statistics and ADE’s reports other humanities fields falling as well.


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Thanks to the internet and social media, jobs for the English majors are created like never before in the blogosphere. Besides teaching or going to law school, there are jobs one can do for the English undergrad degree like writing for a company’s social media page or online news publications. There are positions concerning SEO (Search Engine Optimization), as well as marketing related, copywriting, and many more examples.


The committee said, “more expansively as one in English studies, a term intended to show self-aware hospitality to media, composition, rhetoric, film, cultural studies and other studies that reside in English departments at all types of institutions…”


“What may be surprising is the extent to which departments have not made digital and media studies visible parts of the major of the curriculum,” the committee wrote. “Their absence from English departments may be attributed to their presence in other departments may be attributed to their presence in other or to difficulties in staffing. For digital studies, skepticism still lingers in some quarters about the field’s usefulness.


“No doubt that electronic and other new media loom large in the landscape of reading, writing, editing, design, and (increasingly) literary study and that training in digital and related studies can only enhance students’ employment prospects,” the report says.


The committee agreed literary history needs to be revised. Kent Cartwright, an English professor at the University of Maryland, and chair of the Association of Departments of English Ad Hoc Committee on the English major wrote in an article about the weakness of the major:


“Courses that introduce students to literary studies tend to focus on close reading and on theoretical approaches to literature, not on literary history. We all know that undergraduates resist historical requirements, and one of the reasons may be that we have never really explained or theorized those requirements to students. So instead of simply abandoning historical requirements in response to student pressure, we would be well advised to explain and explore them in engaging ways.”


The required Shakespeare classes for the Ph.D. and Bachelor’s degree institutions decided to replace it as an elective. Shakespeare remains a requirement for the Master’s degree program institutions. Poetry meant well across all of the institutions as well as African-American literature, postcolonial literature, Anglophone literature, global literature, and gender and sexuality literature. One of the strengths within the English program is celebrating African-American literature in particular, and championing diversity and insight.


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Peter Kalliney who is the associate chair of English at the University of Kentucky for five years since 2012 gave his perspective in relation to the subject matter.


“Your most important students are not your majors,” said Peter Kalliney. “This is about changing the teaching culture.” And added, “If faculty and graduate students teach fun, effective courses to nonmajors, we are going to turn a few heads in the process toward becoming majors,” Kalliney said.




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