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Happy Halloween!

From left to right: Michele Perry holding a photo of Billie Neathawk, Stephanie Traverse, Miranda Axworthy, Charlotte Gerstein

Media Literacy Week

Graphic from MediaWise social media

October 24-28 this year is Media Literacy Week, created to highlight the importance of educating young people and the public about digital media literacy. This topic is vital especially in a democracy, where citizens need to be educated for intelligent civic participation, and is closely connected to information literacy education, a priority in General Education at Castleton.

The organizations promoting Media Literacy Week provide lots of resources for learning more about techniques for critical consumption of media, and for teaching media literacy. Take a look at United States Media Literacy Week from the National Association of Media Literacy Education, Media Smarts from Canada, and MediaWise from the Poynter Institute for Media Studies.

The library has a book exhibit up right now featuring related books. You can peruse the list of books included here. You can also see a plethora of resources on a guide created by your CU librarians, News Literacy: Resources for Citizens, Students and Educators

The Soundings program included a presentation this week, “Sorting the News from the Chaff” by Professor Mark Timney from Keene State College.

For students reading this: Do you feel that your K-12 education included enough content on media literacy? Click here to rate your education and share some thoughts.

Media Smarts Canada offers presentation slides and other materials on ways to tell if something is true online. Below is a poster they created, with the four basic steps they emphasize and teach students how to do in their lessons.

With all the resources available and the importance of these skills to us as individuals and as a society–we can all make a difference by gaining in media literacy skills!

New subscription this year: Kanopy for streaming films

What is Kanopy?

From the Kanopy website:

“Kanopy is a video-streaming platform dedicated to thoughtful and thought-provoking films….Kanopy was established to provide academic institutions with essential films that foster learning and conversation, [then later] expanded its services to public libraries, and now delivers a diverse collection of 30,000+ enriching films, available to stream anytime and anywhere — from desktop to TV to tablet…[a] platform for showcasing independent films that fuels lifelong learning, we are on a mission to ensure that everyone has access to enriching films that bridge cultural boundaries, spark discussion, and expand worldviews.”

It includes narrative films and documentaries. You can search for a specific film or director, etc., or browse by type of film or subject, or see lists of award-winners or newly added films.

How to watch Kanopy

First, access Kanopy through this link, or the link in the list of Research Databases on the library website. If you’re off-campus you’ll need to log in using your CU username and password. Then you can make an account. After you’ve made this account, you can use it to access Kanopy through the website or the Kanopy app, and to keep track of your watching and make lists of films or clips of films, etc.

Kanopy is available via an array of apps on the TV, phone, tablet, and computer.

On these mobile devices:

  • iOS devices
  • Android devices
  • Amazon Fire tablets

On these TV devices:

  • Apple TV and Airplay
  • Amazon Fire TV
  • Android TV
  • Samsung Smart TV
  • Roku
  • Telstra TV
  • Chromecast

If you do not have access to any of the above devices, you can also view Kanopy on your television by connecting your computer to your television via HDMI cable.

The Kanopy database also contains some titles we don’t have included in our subscription. However, if you click on one of those and you do want to view it, you can fill out the information under “Request for Access,” and someone will get back to you about access to that additional film.

See Kanopy’s support website for answers to frequently asked questions, or reach out to library staff with any questions.

Guest Blogger Jenna Robinson on Banned Books Week and CU’s Banned Books Course

Every September, the American Library Association sponsors an event called Banned Books Week. The title may appear self-explanatory, but the importance of Banned Books Week is invaluable to society. Rather than being shunned for the controversy surrounding them, banned and challenged books are displayed as a national celebration of intellectual freedom. This concept, intellectual freedom, is what partially retired English professor Bill Wiles strives to instill in the students he teaches.

Fondly referred to as Mr. Bill, his aptly titled Banned Books class focuses on the reasons censorship exists through analyzing controversial literature. So far students have covered Read Dangerously, Fahrenheit 451, and The Day They Came to Arrest the Book. Another aspect of the course has students creating displays for public libraries during Banned Books Week. Student Ryan Phillips worked with Castleton’s Calvin Coolidge Library, focusing on incorporating books from the course and ones that are often challenged. When asked about his experience through email correspondence, Phillips expressed his enjoyment. “In the end I created a display that I’m very happy with, and proud to call my own. In all of my college courses, I’ve never been assigned anything that’s even similar to this, and so I found it really cool to do,” wrote Phillips. I highly encourage everyone to stop by and check it out! I’ve seen it myself, and it’s brilliantly executed. Overall, Mr. Bill feels the same way about all of the displays students created. Visual applications aren’t the easiest task for everyone, but what his students accomplished contributes to the betterment of society. It’s a great way to get involved with a national event beyond the boundaries of Castleton University.

I now pose the question, who challenges books? An illustration by the ALA (below) shows what percentage of the population initiates book challenges. 39% are parents. The rest are patrons, boards/administrations, political and religious groups, and libraries/teachers. Surprisingly, only one percent are students. What story does the data tell? First, because the highest number is parents, their reasoning probably has to do with material age appropriateness. In other words, what should children read and when? For colleges, libraries have fewer restrictions imposed upon them because their students are adults. In middle and elementary schools, it’s a tricky balance between satisfying parents and teaching children about real-world concepts.

But society doesn’t move forward if current ideas aren’t challenged as society evolves. So read dangerously. Contemplate subjects that push you out of your comfort zone.

As far as the other groups go, I could write a full-length essay on a slew of reasons they might have for challenging books. But an essay doesn’t make a reader-friendly blog post. Instead, I propose one simple argument. The ideas of challenged books clash with their own beliefs. They are afraid of change. Yes, change is scary. But society doesn’t move forward if current ideas aren’t challenged as society evolves. So read dangerously. Contemplate subjects that push you out of your comfort zone. That is my message. Celebrate Banned Books Week for recognizing the need to address societal imperfections.

–Jenna Robinson

New book display: Caring for ourselves and each other

Come in and take a look at the new book display in the library related to taking care of ourselves and each other. College is stressful and life is stressful. Being successful in college involves working hard at your academics, but also making sure you can sustain your health and well-being while you’re doing it. We have lots of books to explore on topics like sleep, exercise, healing from trauma, healthy relationships, cultivating happiness, etc. See the list of books in the exhibit in the library.

Many of our majors at CU involve helping others. Sustaining yourself allows you to help others. And, there’s always more to learn about humans and what makes them tick. And, taking care of our society is also important. Some of the books on display deal with kindness and empathy.

For more information, see a guide to information resources on mental health, some recommended sources of health information, and the library’s guide to Health Education information resources.

Good news for access to research

New guidance from the White House requires federally-funded research to be released as open access with no embargo

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) recently released new guidelines for federally funded research, requiring it to be made freely and immediately available to the public. This updates 2013 guidelines that improved access to federally-funded research, but also now removes the one-year embargo publishers were allowed to impose on research they published.

“The American people fund tens of billions of dollars of cutting-edge research annually. There should be no delay or barrier between the American public and the returns on their investments in research,” the head of the OSTP said in a news release.

Read about this increased access to research in the Chronicle of Higher Education article, ‘A Historic Moment’: New Guidance Requires Federally Funded Research to Be Open Access or read the memorandum from the Office of Science and Technology Policy outlining the new guidance.

The library is air-conditioned

During the hot summer months, come on in and enjoy all the library has to offer, including air-conditioning! We are open 8:00 am – 4:00 pm Monday-Friday in the summer.

New book display: Watch What You Read

Sometimes you like the book better than the movie, but sometimes the movie is better. But when you’re a big fan of one, it’s a bonus that you can enjoy the other too.

New films and TV series come out all the time, some consisting of original content, but many of them are based on published novels or nonfiction books. The library might already own a copy of the book, or we might purchase it if the movie or TV show is important culturally.

Where the Crawdads Sing just opened recently in theaters. The book by Delia Owens was hugely popular when it came out in 2017. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel was on many lists of best books of the year for 2015 and was a National Book Award Finalist. It is now a series streaming on HBO Max. Wonder by R.J. Palacio was a hugely popular and educational middle grades book about a boy with facial anomalies. The film based on the book starring Jacob Tremblay as Auggie, and Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson as his parents, was also very successful. A film based on R.J. Palacio’s more recent book, White Bird, will be out soon. All of these books are included in our new display, at least until someone checks them out 😉

Come on in and take a look at the books on display and check some out, or see the list of books we’ve selected here. If you didn’t know some of these books were made into films or series, you can learn more about them at The Internet Movie Database, To find out where a film or series is streaming, see To see if we have the film in our DVD collection, check the catalog. Students, faculty and staff can request DVDs through interlibrary loan. If you have a favorite adaptation we haven’t included in our display this time, you can email with your suggestion.

Welcome back, GIA!

It’s always a joy to have the creative and spirited young people with the Governor’s Institute of the Arts in residence on campus–and especially this year after their absence during Covid. To welcome them again this year, we’ve got a special book display celebrating creativity and the arts.

In this very special summer program, high school students join professional artists and other creative students from throughout Vermont for “an exciting learning community, overflowing with creative energy, collaboration, and inspiration.” They get to take lessons in the media of their choice like music, dance, writing, theater, painting, sculpture, or film, and explore potential careers in the arts, surrounded by people who love to create as much as they do.

More information on the Governor’s Institute summer programs.

June is Pride Month/Rainbow Book Month

June is Pride Month for the LGBTQIA+ community.  From the Library of Congress:

“Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Pride Month is currently celebrated each year in the month of June to honor the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan, a tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement in the United States…The purpose of the commemorative month is to recognize the impact that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals have had on history locally, nationally, and internationally.”

The American Library Association (ALA) celebrates it as Rainbow Book Month

“Rainbow Book Month™ is a nationwide celebration of the authors and writings that reflect the lives and experiences of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, pansexual, genderqueer, queer, intersex, agender, and asexual community. As of 2020, GLBT Book Month™ (celebrated by the American Library Association since 2015) has been renamed Rainbow Book Month™…This occasion is an opportunity for book lovers and libraries (to share) the very best in LGBTQIA+ literature.”

The CU library has a book display up celebrating those writings, this year especially highlighting books for teens and books about expanding our understanding of gender beyond the male/female binary.

Here’s are some resources to read online until you can get to the library to check out some books:

And some recommendations for Pride Month reading from the New York Public Library:

Pride reading recommendations from ALA:

If you see books on these lists that are not in the CU library’s holdings, let us know and we will consider purchasing your suggested title.  Send suggestions to