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Archive for September, 2009

Freedom Forever

Freedom Forever

american-flagIf you’ve been reading the other blogs, you’ve probably noticed a theme for this week… Freedom! DPL is participating in the September Project, a grassroots effort to encourage events about freedom in all libraries in all countries during the month of September.

We’re taking it to the digital extreme – offering prose, insights, and suggestions on our blogs about how you can celebrate your freedom at the Library. One of the ways to celebrate freedom is by knowing a little more about it. For example, can you imagine walking into a library and asking for a book, only to be told that you’re not allowed to read it? This still happens at some libraries in the United States. There’s only word for it, too, and it’s censorship. Censorship in America – can you believe it? To help combat this problem, the American Library Association and the Association for American Booksellers  adopted the “Freedom to Read Statement” back in 1953. Since then, it has been endorsed by numerous other organizations, including your Davenport Public Library. Here’s a little snippet:

The freedom to read is essential to our democracy. It is continuously under attack. Private groups and public authorities in various parts of the country are working to remove or limit access to reading materials, to censor content in schools, to label “controversial” views, to distribute lists of “objectionable” books or authors, and to purge libraries. These actions apparently rise from a view that our national tradition of free expression is no longer valid; that censorship and suppression are needed to counter threats to safety or national security, as well as to avoid the subversion of politics and the corruption of morals. We, as individuals devoted to reading and as librarians and publishers responsible for disseminating ideas, wish to assert the public interest in the preservation of the freedom to read.

Most attempts at suppression rest on a denial of the fundamental premise of democracy: that the ordinary individual, by exercising critical judgment, will select the good and reject the bad. We trust Americans to recognize propaganda and misinformation, and to make their own decisions about what they read and believe. We do not believe they are prepared to sacrifice their heritage of a free press in order to be “protected” against what others think may be bad for them. We believe they still favor free enterprise in ideas and expression.

These efforts at suppression are related to a larger pattern of pressures being brought against education, the press, art and images, films, broadcast media, and the Internet. The problem is not only one of actual censorship. The shadow of fear cast by these pressures leads, we suspect, to an even larger voluntary curtailment of expression by those who seek to avoid controversy or unwelcome scrutiny by government officials.

Such pressure toward conformity is perhaps natural to a time of accelerated change. And yet suppression is never more dangerous than in such a time of social tension. Freedom has given the United States the elasticity to endure strain. Freedom keeps open the path of novel and creative solutions, and enables change to come by choice. Every silencing of a heresy, every enforcement of an orthodoxy, diminishes the toughness and resilience of our society and leaves it the less able to deal with controversy and difference.

Now as always in our history, reading is among our greatest freedoms. The freedom to read and write is almost the only means for making generally available ideas or manners of expression that can initially command only a small audience. The written word is the natural medium for the new idea and the untried voice from which come the original contributions to social growth. It is essential to the extended discussion that serious thought requires, and to the accumulation of knowledge and ideas into organized collections.

We believe that free communication is essential to the preservation of a free society and a creative culture. We believe that these pressures toward conformity present the danger of limiting the range and variety of inquiry and expression on which our democracy and our culture depend. We believe that every American community must jealously guard the freedom to publish and to circulate, in order to preserve its own freedom to read. We believe that publishers and librarians have a profound responsibility to give validity to that freedom to read by making it possible for the readers to choose freely from a variety of offerings.

The freedom to read is guaranteed by the Constitution. Those with faith in free people will stand firm on these constitutional guarantees of essential rights and will exercise the responsibilities that accompany these rights.

You can read more of the Freedom to Read Statement at the American Library Association website. As we celebrate the September Project this week, we look forward to “Banned Books Week” next week – another project dedicated to our freedom to read, to seek uncensored information, and most importantly, to celebrate our freedom to think for ourselves. As the Freedom to Read Statement says, “Freedom itself is a dangerous way of life, but it is ours.”

September 22, 20090 comments
Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-09-18

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-09-18

  • "Topping Out" ceremony today (9/17) @ 2 p.m. at the Eastern Avenue Branch construction site – 6000 Eastern Avenue. See you there! #
  • Join DPL & the AAMI for an "Historic Preservation" lecture and learn how to preserve your heirlooms. Today, 9/12 @ 2 p.m. @ Main. #
  • Visit DPL at the Vander Veer Fall Festival today, 9/12, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Play nature bingo and win great prizes! #
  • Sign the beam that will be placed in the entryway of the new Eastern Avenue Branch. Today, 9/12, between 12 and 2 p.m. Be a part of history! #

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September 18, 20090 comments
Topping Out Ceremony Moves Branch Library Forward

Topping Out Ceremony Moves Branch Library Forward

Davenport’s new environmentally friendly Eastern Avenue Branch Library – 6000 Eastern Ave. – reached the “topping out” stage on Thursday afternoon, moving the project closer to the highly anticipated summer 2010 opening date. During the “topping out,” steelworkers placed the final steel beam in the entryway of the Library, signifying that the highest point of the building’s superstructure has been erected.

The Eastern Avenue Library is seeking certification as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) building and will include geothermal heating and cooling, energy efficient design, storm water management to reduce runoff and pollution, day lighting to reduce the need for electric lighting and indoor environmental quality to reduce exposure to chemicals.

Officials expressed enthusiasm about the building’s progress, and consider it to be a new generation of smarter buildings in Davenport. Other features of the 26,000 square foot library will include separate children and teen areas, a consumer health section funded by Genesis Health System, a used bookstore, a coffee shop, and public meeting spaces. Additionally, the Library will be on three bus routes.

Mayor Gluba praised library staff, the Board of Trustees, and FRIENDS of the Library for moving this project forward, making the Eastern Avenue Branch a successful public/private partnership.

The project would not have been possible without a strong collaboration between public and private funding. Major gifts of $100,000 or more came from the Bechtel Charitable Trust & Foundation, City of Davenport, Vision Iowa CAT Grant, Riverboat Development Authority, Scott County Regional Authority, the Irma Jepsen Endowment Fund, the Figge Foundation, the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust, and an anonymous family foundation. Funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is also anticipated.

The general contractor for the Eastern Avenue Branch Library is Bush Construction Company, Inc., of Davenport. Engberg Anderson, Inc. is the architectural firm designing the LEED certified building. The Library is projected to have an annual circulation of more than 275,000 items, and more than 200,000 annual visitors.

For more information about the Eastern Avenue Branch Library building project, visit the Eastern Avenue Branch Blog at: View pictures, building updates, and more.
About the Eastern Avenue Branch Library

Location: 6000 Eastern Avenue, Davenport, Iowa
Architects: Engberg Anderson, Inc., Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Contractor: Bush Construction Company, Inc., Davenport, Iowa
Square Foot: 26,000 sq. ft.
Projected Volumes: 60,000
Projected Annual Circulation: 275,000
Projected Annual Visitors: 200,000
Projected New Staff: 8 FTE (full-time equivalents)

September 17, 20090 comments


What an exciting week for the Eastern Avenue Branch Library.  The new library that is under construction at 6000 Eastern Avenue has already had one exciting event this week , the “Beam Signing.”  Now to finish off the week, the library will have it’s “Topping Out” ceremony on Thursday, Septmeber 17 at 2:00 p.m.  Join contruction workers, library employees, board members, Friends of the Library, city officials, and many more as they raise the beam over the entrance of the new branch!  The slideshow above is at the “Beam Signing” on Saturday.

For more information about these events or if you have any other questions about the Eastern Avenue Branch, please visit

September 14, 20090 comments
Eastern Avenue Branch Library Beam Signing!

Eastern Avenue Branch Library Beam Signing!


Join us at the Eastern Avenue Branch Library site, 6000 Eastern Avenue, on Saturday, September 12th, from 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. to sign your name on the steel beam that will be in the entrance of the new branch library.  Any time you walk into the new building, you will know that your name is there in perpetuity.  It will only take a few minutes to sign your name.  Bring your children, grandchildren, neighbors, and friends to this monumental event.

For more information regarding the beam signing or for other upcoming events regarding the new Eastern Avenue Branch Library call (563) 326-7832 or visit us online at

September 4, 20092 comments