What R U Reading Wednesdays?

Check out our Adobe Spark page to see this weeks new recommendations and start your summer reading! Includes:

  • “Everywhere You Don’t Belong” by Gabriel Bump
  • “The Book of Dust” by Philip Pullman
  • “Crazy Rich Asians” by Kevin Kwan
  • “Front Row at the Trump Show” by Jonathan Karl

Please continue to submit your responses via the linked form. #mvcclibraryonline2020

What Is the National Guard?

In the past week, I have learned a lot more about the National Guard. “Bring in the National Guard to bring peace to the streets” or “Allow the local police to handle the unrest” is the argument that is being spread across America. As a researcher, I know it is important not only to research both sides of an argument, but also to explore background information that will help better understand the topic.

According to the National Guard website, “The National Guard is a unique element of the U.S. military that serves both community and country. The Guard responds to domestic emergencies, overseas combat missions, counterdrug efforts, reconstruction missions and more.” The National Police Foundation describes four main functions of local police: enforcing laws, preventing crimes, responding to emergencies, and providing support services. It may also be helpful to investigate how the National Guard has been used in the past.

Where does a researcher go next? I think most people may want to understand why some groups prefer keeping local police in charge instead of deploying the military to keep the peace. TwitterFacebook, and other websites can be informative, but a researcher has to make sure the information is correct. The MVCC databases, especially the NEWS database, are good sources of reliable information.

Actions for Creating Safe Communities

If you’ve been paying attention to the protests calling for an end to police violence towards the Black community, you may have seen “Defund Police” or “Abolish Police” on posters and hashtags. These ideas might sound new or even outrageous–the police and the criminal justice system are one component of our social structure that seems fundamental–but questions about the role of policing to keep communities safe have been asked by communities of color for a long time. 

The current movement to shift government funds from police to communities grew out of the prison abolition movement that began in the 70’s. The concern with both prisons and policing stem from the deep racial inequities that are revealed in who is imprisoned and policed. Are Prisons Obsolete by Angela Davis is a good and short place to start. Davis introduces and explains the term Prison Industrial Complex which is used “to describe the overlapping interests of government and industry that use surveillance, policing, and imprisonment as solutions to economic, social and political problems” (Critical Resistance). Activists have charted the way this collusion of interests has led to over-policing and the criminalization of minority communities

Abolitionists, like Mariam Kaba, see alternatives to the Prison Industrial Complex and policing in transformative justice and community accountability. One example of how this might look is presented by Chain Reaction: Alternatives to Calling the Police a project from Project Nia

Below you’ll find readings that explain both the concern with prisons and policing as status quo as well as the potential for creating real systemic change.  

“Abolition is not about destruction and anarchy—it’s about building alternatives…”You can’t just focus on what you don’t want, you have to focus also on what you do want”

Abolish the police? Organizers say it’s less crazy than it sounds

The War on Neighborhoods : Policing, Prison, and Punishment in a Divided City by Ryan Lugalia-Hollon and Daniel Cooper–When the main investment in a community is policing and incarceration, rather than human and community development, that amounts to a “war on neighborhoods,” which ultimately furthers poverty and disadvantage. Longtime Chicago scholars Ryan Lugalia-Hollon and Daniel Cooper tell the story of one of those communities, a neighborhood on Chicago’s West Side that is emblematic of many majority-black neighborhoods in US cities.


Invisible No More : Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color by Andrea J. Ritchie–A timely examination of how Black women, Indigenous women, and women of color experience racial profiling, police brutality, and immigration enforcement…it documents the evolution of movements centering women’s experiences of policing and demands a radical rethinking of our visions of safety—and the means we devote to achieving it.

Freedom is a Constant Struggle : Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement by Angela Y. Davis (Audiobook)–Reflecting on the importance of black feminism, intersectionality, and prison abolitionism for today’s struggles, Davis discusses the legacies of previous liberation struggles-from the black freedom movement to the South African antiapartheid movement. Facing a world of outrageous injustice, Davis challenges us to imagine and build the movement for human liberation. 

Additional research options include the library’s databases:

A Reading List for Learning How to be Antiracist

No one becomes “not racist,” despite a tendency by Americans to identify themselves that way. We can only strive to be “antiracist” on a daily basis, to continually rededicate ourselves to the lifelong task of overcoming our country’s racist heritage.

Ibram X. Kendi, author of Stamped from the Beginning and How to be an Antiracist, created this Antiracist Reading List in the summer of 2019. It was useful then and feels especially necessary right now. Kendi describes the reasons why he recommends each book rather than just summarizing each title. He chooses books that may be difficult or challenging because they force us to encounter the world from a different perspective. Read through his Reading List and come back to this post to see what the library has available either in print or online. You can access print books from the library through our new curbside service (use the request it button in the catalog and you’ll be contacted to schedule a pick up time), and if you need help accessing the online versions, please ask a librarian.

The Condemnation of Blackness : Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America by Khalil Gibran Muhammad

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, also available as an Ebook or Audiobook

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, also available as an Ebook or Audiobook

The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X and Alex Haley

Dying of Whiteness : How the Politics of Racial Resentment is Killing America’s Heartland by Jonathan M. Metzl, also available as an Ebook

Black Marxism : The Making of the Black Radical Tradition by Cedric J. Robinson available as an Ebook

How We Get Free : Black Feminism and the Combahee River Collective edited and introduced by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor available as an Ebook

Well-read black girl : finding our stories, discovering ourselves : an anthology edited by Glory Edim available as an Ebook

Redefining Realness : My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More by Janet Mock, also available as an Audiobook

Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde, also available as an Ebook or an Audiobook

Technology to the Rescue

The role of technology in the 2020 pandemic will be dissected and discussed for decades. The part that technology has played to combat the COVID-19 is amazing. “Tools such as supercomputers, software apps, virtual reality, big data and algorithms are now in play.” This technology is on a seek and destroy mission to eradicate the virus as quickly as possible.

“Today we want everything yesterday, and technology has complied.” Unfortunately, that is not happening with this virus. The medical field is learning quickly that the old ways of handling epidemics or pandemics do not work. There may not be a cure yet, but the scientific community has been able to quickly use some older technology and adapt it to control the virus. The “new” containment tools are proving extremely effective. Telemedicine, for example, is able to keep patients in their homes, enables doctors to communicate with their patients, and keeps the virus from spreading in medical offices or hospitals. “The COVID-19 pandemic may be the trial by fire that telemedicine finally needs to prove its worth, especially in the U.S. Despite the fact that apps and technology for virtual health visits have existed for several decades, uptake in the country has been slow.”

Silcon Valley has also joined in to help stem the spread of the virus. Apple and Google are working to help track the advance of Covid-19. Some people are concerned on how “this may impact user privacy.” For now, most people would probably agree that surveillance may be a necessary evil.


Hopefully, the combination of technology, scientists, and governments will work together and find a vaccine.

New Free Release from J.K. Rowling

J.K Rowling has a new children’s book to share called The Ickabog. It’s not Harry Potter and it’s not about magic. It’s something entirely different. She wrote it years ago and read it her children as she was working on it. She had intended to publish it after the Harry Potter series, but decided to do some writing for adults instead. The Ickabog went up to the attic.

Then the pandemic happened. Wanting to do something special for children everywhere, she dusted the book off and gave it another read. She made some changes, re-read it to her now much older children, and then put some things back they way her children had remembered and loved them from before. The Ickabog will be released in print this coming November. But before that, starting today, she is releasing the book online for free. She will release a chapter or two at a time over the next 7 weeks.

In addition to sharing the book with everyone, she’s also encouraging children to send in illustrations for the book. The selected ones will appear in the print version when it is published.

Read all the details, and of course The Ickabog, at the official website for the book. theickabog.com

You can also read more about the Harry Potter series and J.K. Rowling herself in the library collection.

How This Pandemic Will Go Down in History

From the Library of Congress: “As part of our “National Book Festival Presents” series, Jill Lepore (bestselling historian and Harvard professor) and John Haskell (director of the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress) discuss how the current pandemic, its effects and our reaction to them say something very real about America in this moment and in the historical record that will emerge from it.”

Memorial Day – No librarians available to help.

Abstract Brush Stroke Usa Memorial Day, Day, July, Flag PNG and ...

On Sunday, May 24, and Monday, May 25, (Memorial Day) there will be no librarians on duty for reference services, that is, virtual reference services during the Covid-19 pandemic.

So what, you say, is Decoration Day? That is the name formerly used for Memorial Day, an observance for those soldiers who died during the U. S. Civil War, a day, variously observed mainly in April or May, which was reserved for this purpose way back in 1865-1866. It was, however, only in 1971 that this day became a federal holiday, that it be celebrated on the last Monday of May, and that those who died in any U. S. conflict are now honored. Get more details about this important day, you history buffs. The History Channel provides quite a comprehensive explanation of this remembrance, which heralds the beginning of summer for us. Click here to get there!

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