Ursula Le Guin Sounds the Alarm: A tribute, and call to arms, to writers and readers

If you haven’t heard or read the eloquent Ursula Le Guin speech, that brought the audience to their feet, upon accepting the distinguished contribution to American letters award at the 65th annual National Book Awards ceremony in New York this week – you must:

View the speech at NPR: “Book News: Ursula K. Le Guin Steals The Show At The National Book Awards,” November 20, 2014

Read the speech at various websites, including:

The Guardian: “Ursula K Le Guin’s speech at National Book Awards: ‘Books aren’t just commodities'”

New Yorker, “We Will Need Writers Who Can Remember Freedom”: Ursula Le Guin and Last Night’s N.B.A.s,” by Rachel Arons.

Full text from the Guardian:

“To the givers of this beautiful reward, my thanks, from the heart. My family, my agents, my editors, know that my being here is their doing as well as my own, and that the beautiful reward is theirs as much as mine. And I rejoice in accepting it for, and sharing it with, all the writers who’ve been excluded from literature for so long – my fellow authors of fantasy and science fiction, writers of the imagination, who for 50 years have watched the beautiful rewards go to the so-called realists.

Hard times are coming, when we’ll be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now, can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being, and even imagine real grounds for hope. We’ll need writers who can remember freedom – poets, visionaries – realists of a larger reality.

Right now, we need writers who know the difference between production of a market commodity and the practice of an art. Developing written material to suit sales strategies in order to maximise corporate profit and advertising revenue is not the same thing as responsible book publishing or authorship.

Yet I see sales departments given control over editorial. I see my own publishers, in a silly panic of ignorance and greed, charging public libraries for an e-book six or seven times more than they charge customers. We just saw a profiteer try to punish a publisher for disobedience, and writers threatened by corporate fatwa. And I see a lot of us, the producers, who write the books and make the books, accepting this – letting commodity profiteers sell us like deodorant, and tell us what to publish, what to write.

Books aren’t just commodities; the profit motive is often in conflict with the aims of art. We live in capitalism, its power seems inescapable – but then, so did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings. Resistance and change often begin in art. Very often in our art, the art of words.

I’ve had a long career as a writer, and a good one, in good company. Here at the end of it, I don’t want to watch American literature get sold down the river. We who live by writing and publishing want and should demand our fair share of the proceeds; but the name of our beautiful reward isn’t profit. Its name is freedom.

How Do You Know You’re a Librarian? (Free book download)

You are willing to read books like this one! “The LCSH Century: One Hundred Years with the Library of Congress Subject Headings System.” [This is a link to a free download of the book. Librarians are founding members of the “sharing economy.” We educate, inform, and entertain.]

Or, support your local book-buying economy and get a bound copy suitable for gift-giving:

Stone, Alva T, ed. “The LCSH Century: One Hundred Years with the Library of Congress Subject Headings System.” New York: Routledge, 2013. 025.49 LCSH ISBN 978-0789011695
“The LCSH Century traces the 100-year history of the Library of Congress Subject Headings, from its beginning with the implementation of a dictionary catalog in 1898 to the present day. You will explore the most significant changes in LCSH policies and practices, including a summary of other contributions celebrating the centennial of the world’s most popular library subject heading language.”

Educating Homeless Children: Legal Requirements (ABA Report)

Gallagher Blogs, July 2, 2014, post: Educating Homeless Kids:

“Nearly a quarter of homeless people are children.* Over a million children were homeless at the start of the 2010-2011 school year. And being homeless can make it tough to get an education. To address some of the problems, the McKinney- Vento Homeless Assistance Act (1987) set up the Education for Homeless Children and Youth Program.

The ABA Commission on Homelessness and Poverty just published “Educating Children Without Housing: A Primer on Legal Requirements and Implementation Strategies for Educators, Advocates and Policymakers” …. [Link to full Gallagher Blogs post.]

That direct link to the book at the ABA Store works now, but if it ceases to work, visit the ABA Store and look for this title: “Educating Children Without Housing: A Primer on Legal Requirements and Implementation Strategies for Educators, Advocates and Policymakers,” 4th Edition, 2014.

Summer Reading: Law and Non-law Fiction for Attorneys

The Oregon State Bar’s Ian Pisarcik, Legal Publications Attorney Editor, gives us a list of intriguing books for our reading pleasure:

As an attorney, two things are reasonably certain to occur in your lifetime: Sallie Mae will deduct an astronomically high student loan payment from your checking account and someone, somewhere will ask you if you’ve read To Kill a Mockingbird and if you were aware that John Grisham used to be a real honest-to-God practicing attorney. It is at this point that you will calmly try to explain that you read more than just legal thrillers...” Link to Ian’s blog post and current list of recommendations.

Death by Failure to Research: Could You Pass a Legal Research Competency Test?

David Lankes tells a familiar “Death by Failure to Research” story in his free eBook, “Expect More: Demanding Better Libraries for Today’s Complex World:

…. In 2001 Ellen Roche, a 24-year-old lab technician, entered into a clinical trial at Johns Hopkins University’s Asthma and Allergy Center. The trial was investigating how the lungs responded to chemical irritants. Researchers had Roche inhale hexamethonium. Roche was the third volunteer to do so in the study. The first volunteer had developed a slight cough that lasted a week. The second volunteer had shown no adverse reactions. Roche developed a slight cough that got worse and worse. Five days after inhaling the chemical, Roche was admitted to intensive care. Less than a month later, she was dead. What makes this story all the more tragic is that Roche’s death could have been avoided. As part of the funded clinical trial, the researcher did a literature search. He searched a database that indexed studies from 1960 to the present day. He found nothing on hexamethonium. However, had he not restricted himself to the Internet-accessible version of the database he would have found studies from the 1950’s linking hexamethonium to significant lung problems. Because of Roche’s death, all drug studies at Hopkins must now include a consultation with a librarian and pharmacist….” [Lankes, p. 80 [PDF p. 87] Link to free online versions of David Lankes’ latest book: “Expect More: Demanding Better Libraries for Today’s Complex World.”  The digital version of this book is free to download and distribute. It is in PDF, EPUB, MOBI, and iBook formats.]

Read more about “Principles and Standards for Legal Research Competency.”

 

OSB Publication Wins National Award: “Oregon Constitutional Law”

The Association for Continuing Legal Education (ACLEA) has selectedOregon Constitutional Law” as the winner of its ACLEA’s Best Award of Outstanding Achievement in Publications.

Oregon was a pioneer of the movement to interpret state constitutions independently of the U.S. Constitution. Not only does the Oregon Constitution address many of the rights protected by the federal Constitution, but it also defines many of the powers that the federal Constitution reserved for the states. Attorneys practicing in Oregon should be familiar with the provisions of the Oregon Constitution and the appellate courts’ interpretations of those provisions…” [Read the full post.]

Help pick the winner of the 2014 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction

And add these books to your reading list!

ABA Journal News: Help pick the winner of the 2014 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction, by Allen Pusey

Excerpt: “The three finalists for the 2014 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction have been announced by the ABA Journal and the University of Alabama Law School, co-sponsors of the Harper Lee Prize. They are: Ronald H. Balson for Once We Were Brothers; John Grisham for Sycamore Row; and Elizabeth Strout for The Burgess Boys.

You can help choose the winner by voting for your favorite in the poll accompanying this post. Voting is open through June 30, and the winner will be honored on August 28 at the Library of Congress ….” [Link to article.]

We the People Book Club (Classroom Law Project)

Even if we don’t join all those book clubs dangled so temptingly (ahem) in front of us, we can still add their books to our personal reading lists.

But if you are inclined to join a Lucky Lab CLP book group meet-up and if you’re a bit of a law and governement wonk, here’s a book club for you:

We the People Book Club, which meets at the Lucky Lab, will be reading the following books:

“It can be hard to keep up with all the great books about American government and democracy. Back by popular demand is a a book club where we will explore great books — loosely related to the Units in the WTP text — with great friends over a pretty good dinner. Leading book club discussions is the always insightful Susie Marcus and with her Shelley Larkins, the winning, inquisitive and fun attorney coach from Grant HS’s Con Team.

•Tuesday, Dec. 3 Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power by Jon Meacham
•Tuesday, Feb. 25 Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Life Among the Lowly by Harriet Beecher Stowe
•Tuesday, Apr. 29 Bending Toward Justice: The Voting Rights Act and the Transformation of American Democracy by Gary May
•Tuesday, May 27 Peyote vs. the State: Religious Freedom on Trial by Garrett Epps
•Tuesday, Jun. 17 My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor…” [Read the blog post and visit the CLP homepage.]