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Banned Books Week


Banned Books Week, October is a big month for libraries, not just in Otero County, but around the country. The national event is Banned Books Week, celebrating its 30th anniversary. Its motto, according to the American Library Association, is “50 State Salute to Banned Books Week.”

It runs today through Saturday. The ALA explained it thus on its website: “Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September, it celebrates and highlights the value of free and open access to information. (It) brings together the entire book community — librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers and readers of all types — in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.

“Thousands of individuals and institutions across the United States participate in Banned Books Week each year, and it has grown into a premier literary event and a national awareness and advocacy campaign around censorship.”

The Alamogordo Public Library will celebrate BBW with its annual Costume Gala, from 3-6 p.m. Wednesday. Come dressed as a character from a banned book, or not. A list of Banned Books is available online at the ALA website,, or at the library.

Last year’s winners were SKY Yates as “The Picture of Dorian Gray”; Joylyn Mercouris as Mrs. Arabella Figg from “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix”; and Karen Hutchison as “Nickle and Dimed” author Barbara Ehrenreich.
Then on Thursday, New Mexico State University-Alamogordo will host its annual Read Out, on the central patio on campus, from 12:15-1 p.m. The public is invited to come and listen, or sign up to read for five minutes from a favorite banned book — and they are legion.

The Library Book Club is reading the banned book “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie at 6 p.m. Monday at the Alamogordo Public Library.

One City, One Book

The One City, One Book program, sponsored by the Friends of the Library and NMSU-A, encourages everyone in a city to read the same book.

This year’s book is Ivan Doig’s memoir of his Montana childhood, “This House of Sky.”

It was selected by Michael Jarnagin, who won the Adult Reading Challenge for the second straight year and said he would now retire on his laurels and let someone else win.

Several events are connected to One City, One Book. From 6-8 p.m. Oct. 17, the 2009 documentary film “Sweet Grass,” about Montana sheep-herding, will be shown at the Alamogordo library.

The ever-popular FOL players will present “a tongue-in-cheek Western mystery” from 6-8 p.m. Oct. 24. And finally, the Library Book Club will discuss “This House of Sky,” at 6 p.m. Oct. 29.

All events are free and open to the public, and there will also be a discussion of the book at the Townsend Library — time and date to be determined.

One City, One Book was started in 1998 by Nancy Pearl at the Seattle Public Library’s Washington Center for the Book. That first book chosen for the program was Russell Banks’ “The Sweet Hereafter,” written in 1991.

Tularosa Library

At the Tularosa Public Library, director Randi Northrop said she will have a table display of Banned Books “and we encourage people to read them.”

The Tularosa Library will hold a book sale from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Oct. 20.

“Children’s books are 10 cents, and all others are 25 cents. Start your Christmas shopping right here. Books always make great gifts,” Northrop said.

“We’ll have a Halloween Party from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27. There’s a costume contest, games, lots of goodies. It will just be a fun party.”

The Tularosa Library hours are noon-6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday.

Winter Ball

The Friends of the Library intend to close out Centennial Year 2012 with a big bash — “Things Remembered,” a Winter Ball from 7-11 p.m. Dec. 28 at the Alamogordo Public Library, so plan ahead.

There will be live music, dancing and light refreshments. Attendees will have a rare (in Alamogordo) opportunity to really dress up, whether in period or contemporary wear.

“We are encouraging people to dress in the style of 1912, if they can,” Amy Rivers said. She is the program director for the Friends of the Library and came up with the idea of holding a formal ball in the library.

The cost of admission to the ball will be one book donated to the Alamogordo Public Library.

Note that Vintage Etcetera at 906 New York Ave. carries period clothing and accessories.

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