Last year I was contacted by Libby McInerny, who was working on a film project she thought was ripe for screening at public libraries. She had heard about The September Project, and was interested in learning more about how we operate and more importantly, how the project started. The more we chatted and shared, the more I wanted to support this important project.

She and I reconnected this year, and I’m happy to report the film is ready for viewing. From the web site:

Not in Our Town: Light In The Darkness is a one-hour documentary about a town coming together to take action after anti-immigrant violence devastates the community. In 2008, a series of attacks against Latino residents in Patchogue, New York, ended with the killing of Marcelo Lucero, an Ecuadorian immigrant who had lived in the village for thirteen years. Seven local high school students arrested for the crime admitted they were “looking for a Mexican” to beat up. Over a two-year period, Not In Our Town: Light in the Darkness follows Mayor Paul Pontieri; the victim’s brother, Joselo Lucero; and diverse community stakeholders—including local librarians—as they openly address the underlying causes of the violence, work to heal divisions, and initiate ongoing actions to ensure everyone in the village will be safe and respected. Library Journal’s 2011 Paralibrarian of the Year, Gilda Ramos, is featured in the film, along with other Patchogue-Medford librarians.”

As expected, librarians and the local library play a big part in this story. Librarians and the Patchogue-Medford Library emerge as important community resources before and after the tragedy. Not surprisingly, the project organizers are promoting this film to public libraries and others as an opportunity to spark conversations around issues that matter in our communities.

From Libby, here are four ways libraries can engage in the film project:

  • Schedule a screening and discussion of Not In Our Town: Light in the Darkness at your library during Not In Our Town Week of Action.
  • Encourage community partners to host screening events at your library in September and beyond.
  • Promote and participate in a “One Community/Once Book” Club.
  • Email your ideas, stories, and event announcements. They will be added to the project website, and your library might be featured in a future Not In Our Town video story.

Over the years, many libraries have organized film screenings and discussions for September Project events, and I encourage you to consider using this film as a thought-provoking activity to spark conversations in your community this Fall. The film is free, and you can learn more about the project at their project web site, http://www.niot.org.


The other night over Spanish tapas, the topic of this year’s September Project came up. We talked about our desire to encourage volunteers, not just because we continue to run this effort as volunteers ourselves, and not just because it’s easier to have more people involved, and not just because our budget has read “zero” for almost the entirety–8 years–of the project, but because the project is about people. Librarians, specifically, but people who attend, who collaborate, who make this project what it is. The more people who participate, the more successful the September Project (and I’m not talking about individual libraries that participate, necessarily, but people who attend, who organize, who lend a helping hand).

This year, as in past years, we’re always interested in welcoming other voices to the project: bloggers, tweeters, folks who want to lend their brains to dream up exciting and new ideas. If any of this resonates with you, please leave a comment, or drop us a line: septemberproject AT gmail dot com.

Last week, The September Project received a nice write-up in American Libraries, the magazine of the American Library Association (ALA). The article’s author, Greg Landgraf, did an excellent job highlighting the diversity of September Project events.

To show the range of events, Landgraf mentions an academic library (O’Grady Library at Saint Martin’s University in Lacey, Washington), a public library (Goffstown Public Library in Goffstown, New Hampshire), and a school library (at Country Day School in Huntsville, Alabama). The article also spotlights the ALA’s own event, a reading of the Qur’an on its front steps on September 11.

As an educator, I really enjoyed learning more about O’Grady Library’s September Project event which explored the controversy surrounding the nearby Olympia Food Co-op’s decision to boycott Israeli products (on a local scale) and the related issues surrounding the Israeli/Palestinian conflict (on a global scale). Professors Irina Gendelman and Nathalie Kuroiwa-Lewis asked their Digital Journalism students to combine library research and on-site reporting to create a digital slide installation in O’Grady Library. In the article, Professor Gendelman notes that the co-op’s boycott caused “a pretty big rift in the community, and people were polarized suddenly. This is an effort to contribute to that conversation.”

Getting folks together for difficult conversations and providing resources for people to learn more about their world is what The September Project is all about. It is also what libraries – like Goffstown Public Library, pictured below – do every day.

I absolutely love learning about all of the creative Banned Book events going on across the country. I heard of this one from the most excellent ARSL listserv. What a terrific Banned Book Week event, organized by a particularly inspired librarian. Join Loriene and her students!

Friends and colleagues,

Banned Books Week (BBW) will take place from 25 Sept – 2 October. On Monday, 27 Sept, 6:05 p.m., graduate students in my Monday night “Indigenous Librarianship” class will begin to read excerpts aloud from Sherman Alexie’s “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.” We
invite you to also read “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” during this time (or at another time slot during Banned Books Week) to form a reading chain across Indian Country!

1. You can post your info on the Banned Books Week FaceBook page:

2. You can post your info on the ALA Rural, Native, and Tribal Libraries of All Kinds Committee FaceBook page:

You’ll find more information about AlA Banned Books Week at:


Loriene Roy

School of Information, The University of Texas at Austin

Welcome back, UT Tyler! What an impressive slate of events they have planned. Read on…

The UT Tyler Robert R. Muntz Library is announcing the following events in observance of the International September Project. This is our third year participating in the September Project. Since 2004, libraries around the world have organized events about freedom and issues that matter to their communities during the month of September. This grassroots project favors free over fee, public over private, and voices over silence. In addition, September is also the month for Constitution Week (September 17-23) and for Banned Books Week (this year it falls on September 25 to October 2). We bring those events under our umbrella of the September Project as well.

The library will host or present the following activities this month:

  • Thanks to the generosity of the Mary Tyler Chapter of the Daughter of the American Revolution (DAR), the library is hosting an exhibit in honor of Constitution Week. This exhibit is on view in the second floor and on one of the two display cases on the third floor. This exhibit will run through the month of September. It can be viewed during library regular hours. The theme of this year’s display is “Historic Preservation, Education and Patriotism.”
  • The Muntz Library is hosting a Texas Humanities exhibit entitled The Bonfire of Liberties: Censorship of the Humanities. This is one of our activities for Banned Books Week as well as the September Project. The exhibit looks at the history of censorship in the field of the humanities, showing how many works we consider classics have been considered controversial at one point or another. This exhibit is made possible by a grant from the UT Tyler Friends of the Arts (FOA).
  • And our big event: We are happy to announce that we will do a screening of the film Charlie Wilson’s War on Thursday September 30 at 7pm. This will take place in LIB-401. The film presents the story of East Texas Congressman Charlie Wilson’s covert dealings in Afghanistan, where his efforts to assist rebels in their war with the Soviets have some unforeseen and long-reaching effects (from imbd.com description). The film also gives a look at how the federal government works and how funding for things like wars is done. We are pleased to announce also that Dr. James Newsom, Senior Lecturer from the History Department, will be the guest speaker for the event. Dr. Newsom will deliver some remarks and provide some context for the film.

These events are free and open to the public.

Very cool banned books kickoff event at the California State Library. If you’re in the area, listen to folks read from banned books every 15 minutes. What a great idea!

Banned Books to Be Read Aloud by Local Celebrities

Sacramento – Excerpts from banned books will be read aloud at the California State Library for five hours on Wednesday, September 22, in celebration of the freedom to read and the First Amendment. Notable city and state leaders, journalists, librarians, educators, and representatives from labor, sports, and non-profit councils will read from books that have been banned or challenged in the US.

The event will be held in the Fragrance Garden of the California State Library, 900 N Street, Sacramento, from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The public is invited to attend some or all of the readings, which are scheduled at fifteen minute intervals throughout the afternoon. Light refreshments will be served.

This program is a kick-off for the American Library Association’s Banned Books Week, held annually during the last week of September.  Banned Book Week highlights the benefits of free and open access to information and draws attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted banning of books across the United States. This year Banned Books Week runs from September 25 to October 2.

The schedule of readings is as follows:

11:30 a.m. Rivkah Sass, City of Sacramento Librarian, Importance of Freedom of Speech
11:45 a.m. Nancy Lenoil, State Archivist, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
12:00 p.m. Dr Nadeen T. Ruiz, Director, Serna Center CSU Sacramento, Friends from the Other Side
12:15 p.m. Jess Zaker, Lipstick Librarian, Sac City Rollers; Sac City Librarian, And Tango Makes Three
12:30 p.m. Pallas Hupé, CBS 13 News Anchor
12:45 p.m. Sandra Swafford, California State Library Board Member
1:00 p.m. Jeffrey Callison, Host of Insight on Capital Public Radio, Of Mice and Men
1:15 p.m. Ralph Lewin, President & CEO, California Council for the Humanities
1:30 p.m. Mark S. Allen, CW31 Good Day Sacramento
1:45 p.m. John Cornelison, California Research Bureau, California State Library2:
2:00 p.m. Bill Leonard, Secretary of State and Consumer Services, Bible
2:15 p.m. Susan Bassett, Governmental Relations Consultant, A Light in the Attic
2:30 p.m. Linda Adams, Secretary, California EPA, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
2:45 p.m. Maria Kochis, Librarian, CSU Sacramento, Valley of the Horses
3:00 p.m. Danny Curtin, Director, California Conference of Carpenters
3:15 p.m. Mariko Yamada, Assemblywoman, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn2
3:30 p.m. Ira Bray, Library Development Services, California State Library, Lord of the Flies
3:45 p.m. Murial Johnson, Director, California Arts Council
4:00 p.m. Gavin Ferguson, The Wake Up Call at 107.9, Catcher in the Rye
4:15 p.m. Player for the new Sacramento Mountain Lions UFL Football Team
4:30 p.m. Stacey A. Aldrich, State Librarian of California, Closing Passage

Local support for the Banned Books event is provided by the California State Library Foundation and by the readers, who are giving generously of their time.

It’s always a joy to hear from Sandy Whipple of the Goffstown Public Library in Goffstown, NH. She recently shared a description of the events from this past weekend and of those that are scheduled throughout September at her library. We’re always thrilled to get a peek at the events that happen around the globe, and as you’ll see below, Sandy’s photos from the 2009 events at her library did not disappoint.  As always, I’m certain those who attended her programs this weekend were thankful that Sandy and staff take time to organize thoughtful and creative events each September. Here’s what Sandy shared:

Inspired by Bill Erbes of Libraries Remember, we will remain open for 24 hours on 9/11, offering an array of programs, of which the candlelight vigil has become an important component. In addition, we will continue our knit a thon which has produced 750 helmet liners since last September. Sent to deployed troops, they offer a warm, made with love piece of home. We will be repeating the Thank a Hero cardmaking, which this year will include requests for non-military youth in the community to compose notes to military youth which will be included in Operation Military Kids Hero Backpacks. Since NH will be experiencing one of the largest deployments of Guard Members in its history on 9/11, these events are particularly apropos. Multiple showings of the award-winning film, “Taking Chance“, will provide a rarely seen side of a military ritual that illustrates the price of war in a unique, and profoundly moving way.

To round out the month, we will honor Banned Books Week in “Out of Silence”, a collaborative with the Afghan Women’s Writing Project. Featuring guest readers of all ages, we will lift the imposed veil of silence from the Afghan women who risk so much to have their voices heard.

Enjoy the pictures from last year which include the candlelight vigil, card-making and knitters from our knit a thon.

As always, we hope our September Project offerings will continue to Inspire, Challenge and Engage!


Sandy Whipple
Adult Services & Outreach
Goffstown Public Library
2 High Street
Goffstown, NH 03045