The refrain from Joni Mitchell’s Big Yellow Taxi may echo in your head when you realize that this is “Banned Books Week.” Sponsored by several organizations including the American Library Association and the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, the week serves to draw attention to intellectual freedom and efforts that challenge freedom of expression. The library display screen has some interesting statistics on the numbers of book bannings and challenges to those bannings in the U.S. over the past decade. While the mass burning of books as in Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 is not a reality in this country, in many communities strong efforts are made to restrict what children and even older individuals may find on bookshelves. Banned Books Week is a reminder that we must remain vigilant in our support of unfettered access to information.
September 17 is designated Constitution Day, as well as Citizenship Day, by acts of Congress. Congress expressly states the purpose of the recognition is to “commemorate the formation and signing on September 17, 1787, of the Constitution and recognize all who, by coming of age or by naturalization, have become citizens.” Congress also designated a full week to commemorate the Constitution, beginning on Constitution Day. Many law schools, such as the UC College of Law, commemorate the day with a lecture or other special event. In fact, in 2005 Congress made it a condition of federal funding to educational institutions that they “shall hold an educational program on the United States Constitution on September 17 of such year for the students served by the educational institution. Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2005, Pub. L. No. 108-447, § 111, 118 Stat. 2809, 3344-45.
The Library of Congress today is launching its new website and a companion app for the Constitution of the United States of America: Analysis and Interpretation. The site includes legal analysis and interpretation based primarily on Supreme Court case law.
Welcome back, returning law students. Those CALI exercises you learned to use in your first year offer many more topics than just those for 1L students. There is a wide variety of advanced topics among the more than 1,000 exercise sets. You can see the topic list at http://www.cali.org/lesson. If you’ve not yet created your CALI user account, you’ll need the College of Law’s student authorization code. This year the codes are included in sets of cards for the new game, “Time Trial.” Per Sarah Glassmeyer at the CALI Spotlight blog, “Time Trial is a card game that tests a player’s knowledge of legally relevant dates – court cases, U.S. Supreme Court justice tenures, U.S. Constitutional amendments and federal public laws. The rules are simple: players take turns reading the cards to each other and putting them into chronological order. We even made an online version for solo play. The content of the cards was written by law librarian Tom Gaylord of IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law.” Our staff will soon be distributing sets with 10 game cards to your mailboxes. If you need a set right away, stop by the reference desk in the library. If you’d like to play the game with the full set of 200 cards, we have a set available for checkout from the reserve collection at the circulation desk.