Thursday, March 5, 2015

World Book Day is today March 5, 2015

J.K. Rowling, Malala, and Nelufar Hedayet at the Festival
In October, Malala spoke at the Edinburgh International Book Festival about the importance of books and education for all children. She was introduced by Harry Potter series author, J.K. Rowling. Below is what Rowling had this to say about Malala: "Malala is an inspiration to girls and women all over the world. It is a real honour for me to introduce her at the Edinburgh International Book Festival."
After being introduced by Rowling, Malala was interviewed by Nelufar Hedayet. Below are some of Malala's quotes about the importance of books and education:
My story is the story of thousands of children from around the world. I hope it inspires others to stand up for their rights.
If we want to see the next big change (of every child going to school) we need to become the change ourselves and bring the change.
More information about Malala and World Book Day can be found here.
Her interview can be found here.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Malala inspires girls to start #Girlwithabook campaign

Lena and Olivia meeting Malala
Olivia and Lena were college students when Malala was attacked by the Taliban. Olivia was in Jordan and Lena was in Michigan, but they used Facebook to share their frustrations and outrage over the attack. Malala's resilience and perseverance inspired the two girls from the United States to work together and begin the #girlwithabook social media campaign.

Project #girlwithabook. Apparently girls with books are scary to the Taliban. Let's get people to post pictures of themselves with books! A favorite book, a random book, a school book, you name it! Let's do this. --Olivia
The girls began by collection photos from family and friends, but it wasn't long before people from all over the world were sharing and sending photos holding books or signs that said "I stand with Malala." The girls have been supported by multiple organizations including the UN, Half the Sky movement, National Women's History Museum, and more. The women are using social media to raise awareness about girls' education.

To learn more about their work visit their site here

You can also visit their social media pages:

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Monday, February 2, 2015

 “Empowering Women and Girls around the Globe” Panel Discussion
Nikumbuke Project Library in rural Kenya

Learn how local access to information is critical to improving the lives of women and girls in South Africa, Kenya, Nicaragua, and rural China. How Libraries and Information Services are Empowering Women and Girls around the Globe is a free public event on Tuesday evening, February 10 from 6:00–7:30 p.m. in 460 Memorial Library, 728 State Street

Our four panelist-- Araceli Alonso, Lisa Ebert, Louise Robbins and Karla Strand -- will talk about their work in other countries. This event is part of the “Go Big Read” community reading program which this year features the book, I am Malala, the true story of the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner. Light refreshments will follow the panel discussion. This event is sponsored by the Friends of the UW – Madison Libraries, Office of the Gender & Women’s Studies Librarian, Department of Gender and Women’s Studies and the Go Big Read program.
Araceli Alonso is an Associate Faculty at UW-Madison in the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies and the School of Medicine and Public Health. Dr. Alonso is also the Founder and Director of Health by Motorbike (HbM), a nonprofit that provides medical services and health literacy to women and girls from remote and isolated villages in Africa. For her work with women's health and women's rights in rural Kenya, in 2013 Dr. Alonso received two of the world most prestigious awards—the United Nations Public Service Award and the Jefferson Award for Public Service.

Karla Strand directs the Office of the Gender & Women’s Studies Librarian for the University of Wisconsin System, the premier resource for the support of gender and women’s studies scholarship and librarianship. Prior to this, she was employed at Carroll University where she served as Diversity Librarian and Associate Director. Strand is currently completing her doctorate in Information Science via the University of Pretoria in South Africa where she is researching how public librarians in KwaZulu-Natal province can help alleviate information inequality in their communities.
Nikumbuke Library Patron

While completing her master’s degree in Community and Organizational Leadership, Lisa Ebert went to Nicaragua through the Wisconsin/Nicaragua Partners program, part of the nationwide Partners in the America organization established by President Kennedy. Her Nicaraguan experience changed Ms. Ebert’s focus for her master’s program to women’s empowerment issues and more specifically to how the Wisconsin/Nicaragua Partners organization helps to empower women who participate in their Learning Centers. She has returned to Nicaragua two additional times.

Louise S. Robbins is Professor and Director Emerita of the School of Library and Information Studies of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has also taught library courses at universities in China, Korea, Japan, and Kyrgyzstan. Since 2006, Robbins has been involved with the Evergreen Education Foundation, which provides various kinds of assistance to schools and public libraries in rural China.

The event sponsors and panelists also encourage you to read the remarkable story of Malala Yousafzai in this year's Go Big Read book, I Am Malala. When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, Malala refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education. 

More information about the event can be found on the event calendar and at the Friends of the Library.

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Friday, January 23, 2015

Woven Gardens of Hope: Afghan Women's Carpets Exhibit 

The Woven Gardens of Hope: Afghan Women's Carpets Exhibit opens today at the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection in Nicholas Hall. The exhibition highlights a community-based program to empower Afghan women through weaving of carpets following centuries-old techniques to create a sustainable quality of life for their families. Their carpets will be shown within the context of historic carpets and textiles from this region and culture, extending a past tradition into the present.

The gallery is free and open to the public. The exhibit will be open from January 23rd through March 1st and will have five featured events during that time. The first featured event is an opening ceremony this Sunday, January 25. To learn more visit the exhibit's site here

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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Go Big Read seeks titles focused on inequality in America for 2015-2016 program

Have you read any great books lately? Do you think something you've read would make a great Go Big Read selection? Let us know! For the 2015-2016 academic year, we are seeking books with a focus on inequality in America:
America is often billed as a land of opportunity, but for many people there are barriers to accessing education, getting out of poverty, seeking justice and more.    
"The Go Big Read program will provide a communitywide opportunity to further discuss the ways in which unequal opportunities affect our society and impact our relationships with one another."  -Rebecca Blank  
If you've recently read something that engages with the theme of inequality in America, we want to hear about it. The deadline to submit books for consideration is January 30, 2015, and we are accepting both fiction and non-fiction nominations. You can use this form to nominate titles, and read more about our selection criteria here, and also see if your favorite title is on our running suggestion list.

We can't wait to hear from you!

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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Spring Course Sign Up
Faculty and Staff, are you considering using this year's Go Big Read book "I Am Malala" in your spring course? To arrange free books for your students, fill out the web form here.
Malala Yousafzai made history this fall when she became the youngest winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. Malala's activism and rousing speeches are a source of inspiration to students across campus. Malala's book has sparked deep and engaging conversations across campus about religion, education, and culture. Examples include the event, "Breaking Stereotypes: Women in Islam" hosted by the Muslim Students Association and the event "Embattled Ideologies: I Am Malala and the Question of Women's Education in Islam" hosted by the Lubar Institute for the Study of the Abrahamic Religions. You won't want to miss the chance to include your students in these important conversations. 

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Smarty Pants Book Club: "I Am Malala"
Guest Blog Post by Leah Ujda

In my pre-Design Concepts work life, I was a librarian at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. One of my favorite experiences there was serving multiple years on the book selection committee for Go Big Read, the campus-wide common book program.
Sponsored by the Office of the Chancellor in partnership with the Center for First-Year Experience, and many other units of the university, the goal of Go Big Read is to “engage members of the campus community and beyond in a shared, academically focused reading experience.” This fall, our very own Smarty Pants Book Club joined thousands of others in the Madison community in reading "I Am Malala" by Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai.
“I Am Malala” is the true story of a girl in Pakistan who, along with her father, is a vocal advocate for girls’ right to an education in spite of the restrictions imposed by the Taliban. Malala’s father is a school owner who encouraged her to speak out, write and attend school from an early age. As a young student her story caught the attention of Western journalists and media. Malala’s (then anonymous) blog detailing daily life under the Taliban was picked up by the BBC when she was 11 years old and she was profiled in the New York Times in 2009. She became quite well known both internationally and in her home in the Swat Valley in Pakistan, and her outspoken views gained the attention of the Taliban. In October 2012, Malala was shot at point blank range by masked Taliban soldiers while riding the bus home from school.

One of the things we talked a lot about at book club was Malala’s perception of herself and her life – as Chad put it, “until she was shot in the head she didn't think she was particularly incendiary or special.” To the members of our book club – educated, employed, comfortable Americans – Malala and the people in her village often seemed to be dealing with life close to the bottom of Maslow’s hierarchy. Their basic safety and security was not a given. Regardless of the dangerous environment she and her family lived in, Malala wrote about love, respect, independence and betterment.

By reading the same book and coming together to talk about it, we take an individual activity and make it social.

Related to this idea of perception, we talked a bit about Malala’s idealism and optimism. At the risk of being cynical and jaded, we wondered how much of her story and the presentation of it was coached. Christina Lamb, an award-winning British journalist, co-wrote the book with Malala and book club members agreed that it was very obvious that this story was being presented to a Western audience. Ultimately, our discussion wound around to the conclusion that it really didn’t matter how coached, edited or polished the story may have been. Stories like Malala’s pull people out of blindness and illustrate the powerful and destructive nature of ignorance.

There were moments in the book that revealed how broken the political system of Pakistan under the Taliban really is. For example, after she was shot Malala was transported to a hospital in England for treatment and it took two weeks for Malala’s family to gain the necessary paperwork to join her there. Corin noted that a system that prioritizes political favors and self-interest over the family of a critically wounded 15-year-old girl has stepped completely outside of human empathy. But this is not a “Pakistan thing” or even a “Taliban thing.” It is a human thing. Corruption can thrive anywhere with right set of circumstances, timing and luck.

We wrapped up our discussion with some reflection on common reading programs such as Go Big Read and the experience of participating in a book club. By reading the same book and coming together to talk about it, we take an individual activity and make it social. Corin participated in a campus-wide common book program during her freshman year at Virginia Tech, and both Roshelle and I previously took part in the Chicago Public Library’s “One City, One Book” initiative. Even our little office book club provides a forum for shared experiences that foster connections among people and push us to pick up books we might not have otherwise selected. All of us agreed that having a shared experience at the same time is rare and precious. “I Am Malala” filled the Smarty Pants Book Club with feelings of gratitude and connection just in time for the holiday season… and it made us feel a lot smarter while we watch “Homeland.”

Leah Ujda
Research Specialist
Design Concepts

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