Banned Books Week 2017: September 24-30

This week we celebrate Banned Books Week. This event, started by the American Library Association (ALA), celebrates the freedom to read. On their website (also linked at the end of the article), they share that Banned Books Week is intended to draw attention to the negative impacts of censorship.

About Banned Books Week
Each year, the ALA compiles a list of the 10 most challenged books, reported by librarians around the United States. Challenges can be made by patrons of any library. A challenge is often an attempt to have materials removed or restricted based on personal views. Most of the time, libraries have procedures on how to deal with challenges, and books can end up banned. Banning books restricts patrons access, making banning books, a threat to freedom, speech and choice.

The books featured below and on our display in the McGraw-Page Library have been challenged and in some cases banned from libraries. You’ll recognize some of the titles below, many have been made into popular movies. Below we’ve included a brief summary, the reason for the book being challenged or banned and where you can locate the book in our library. The ALA’s 2017 campaign slogan is “words have power, read a banned book!”  The staff of the McGraw-Page Library invites you to check out our selection of challenged books near the Information Desk.

Banned Books in the McGraw-Page Collection

Looking for Alaska

by John Green
Looking for Alaska book cover
Top 10 List: Multiple years
Challenge Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit scene that may lead to “sexual experimentation” and unsuited for age group
Summary: Sixteen-year-old Miles’ first year at Culver Creek Preparatory School in Alabama includes good friends and great pranks, but is defined by the search for answers about life and death after a fatal car crash.
Catalog Link – Looking for Alaska

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
by Sherman Alexie
Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian book cover
Top 10 List: #1 in 2014
Challenge Reasons: anti-family, cultural insensitivity, drugs/alcohol/smoking, gambling, offensive language, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group, violence and depictions of bullying
Summary: Budding cartoonist Junior leaves his troubled school on the Spokane Indian Reservation to attend an all-white farm town school where the only other Indian is the school mascot.
Catalog Link – The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

by Craig Thompson
Habibi book cover
Top 10 List: #8 in 2015
Challenge Reasons: nudity, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group
Summary: Sprawling across an epic landscape of deserts, harems, and modern industrial clutter, Habibi tells the tale of Dodola and Zam, refugee child slaves bound to each other by chance, by circumstance, and by the love that grows between them. We follow them as their lives unfold together and apart; as they struggle to make a place for themselves in a world (not unlike our own) fueled by fear, lust, and greed; and as they discover the extraordinary depth– and frailty– of their connection. At once contemporary and timeless, Habibi gives us a love story of astounding resonance: a parable about our relationship to the natural world, the cultural divide between the first and third worlds, the common heritage of Christianity and Islam, and, most potently, the magic of storytelling.
Catalog Link – Habibi

The Kite Runner
by Khaled Hosseini
Kite Runner cover
Top 10 List: 2014
Challenge Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit and unsuited for age group
Summary: Since its publication in 2003, The Kite Runner has shipped over four million copies and spent more than two years on the New York Times bestseller list. Taking us from Afghanistan in the final days of the monarchy through the horrific rule of the Taliban, The Kite Runner is the heartbreaking story of the unlikely and inseparable friendship between a wealthy Afghan boy and the son of his father’s servant, both of whom are caught in the tragic sweep of history. Published in the aftermath of America’s invasion of Afghanistan, Khaled Hosseini’s haunting writing brought a part of the world to vivid life that was previously unknown.
Catalog Link – The Kite Runner


by Marjane Satrapi
Persepolis book cover
Top 10 List: 2014
Challenge Reasons: gambling, offensive language, political viewpoint, politically, racially and socially offensive, and graphic depictions
Summary: Persepolis is the story of Satrapi’s unforgettable childhood and coming of age within a large and loving family in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution; of the contradictions between private life and public life in a country plagued by political upheaval; of her high school years in Vienna facing the trials of adolescence far from her family; of her homecoming–both sweet and terrible; and, finally, of her self-imposed exile from her beloved homeland. It is the chronicle of a girlhood and adolescence at once outrageous and familiar, a young life entwined with the history of her country yet filled with the universal trials and joys of growing up.
Catalog Link – Persepolis

The Hunger Games
by Suzanne Collins
Hunger Games cover
Top 10 List: 2010, 2011 and 2013
Challenge Reasons: religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group, anti-ethnic, anti-family, insensitivity, sexually explicit, offensive language, occult/satanic and violence
Summary: In a future North America, where the rulers of Panem maintain control through an annual televised survival competition pitting young people from each of the twelve districts against one another, sixteen-year-old Katniss’s skills are put to the test when she voluntarily takes her younger sister’s place.
Catalog Link – The Hunger Games

Harry Potter
by J. K. Rowling
Harry Potter cover
Top 10 List: #1 2001 & 2002
Challenge Reasons: anti-family, occult/Satanism, religious viewpoint, violence
Summary: Rescued from the outrageous neglect of his aunt and uncle, a young boy with a great destiny proves his worth while attending Hogwarts School for Wizards and Witches.
Catalog Link – Harry Potter


Other well-known books that have been banned include: The Bluest Eye (Toni Morrison), To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee), Thirteen Reasons Why (Jay Asher), The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger), The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Mark Twain), and many, many more.

Banned Books Week Links:
Banned Books Week information provided by the ALA
Top 10 Lists

Printing in 3 Dimensions!

example 3d printsYou may have noticed some interesting new items at the Instructional Design & Technology Desk. There has always been the poster prints, DSLR Cameras and even 4K digital cinema cameras, but now it is home to a 3D printer and 3D scanner! Over the summer, Lily Zhang used a grant from the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges to purchase an Ultimaker 3 printer and a Matter and Form 3D scanner.

3D printer

The 3D printer uses a process known as fused deposition modeling (some call it fused filament fabrication, tomāto/tomăto), where plastic filament is melted and deposited on top of previously deposited plastic. Think of it like a can of whipped cream; you can spray some onto your sundae, and if you wanted to (you do want to), you could spray another layer of whipped cream on top of what’s already there. You’re fusing the whipped cream by depositing more on top of itself. In this case, instead of delicious dairy toppings, we’re using spools of specific types of plastic filament.

3d print animation


There is a world of plastics available, each for a different purpose. For the time being, our printer is using ABS, acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (like LEGO!) and PLA, polylactic acid (the clear clamshell your berries come in!). ABS is strong, durable and temperature resistant but can be a little persnickety in printing. Oh, and it smells like melting plastic when it is printing. PLA, on the other hand, is really easy to print with, leaves a really nice surface finish and smells like waffles when it is printing (it’s made from things like cornstarch and sugarcane); but can deform at temperatures you’d find outdoors and just isn’t as strong as ABS. Both of these plastics serve a purpose (see a simple comparison here, a more scientific one here), and both work really well in the library’s printer.

Ok, so we have the fused part and the deposition part, but that doesn’t make us a nifty print. For that the printer needs to know where to put the melting plastic. The modeling part comes from computer software. This takes a model you’ve created or downloaded and creates a path for the printer to follow, called a toolpath.

This is a toolpath rendered for us to see.3D printer slice

The toolpath tells the 3D printer where in 3-dimensions to move the print head and where to push out the plastic. The printer can work in a total volume of 215mm3; or roughly an eight inch cube. In that cube the printer can move as little as 12.5µ, or 0.0125mm: the hair on your head is ~80µ! This is just to say that this 3D printer can create models that are very detailed.

To breakdown the process for you, let’s say you’d like to print something for your chemistry class. You’ve found a 3D model of insulin that looks really cool. You download the associated file (usually an *.stl or *.obj) and load it into the printing software. In that software you choose how detailed and dense you’d like it to be. Does it need to be pretty rigid? Does it need to be able to bend a little? Do you want it to be 300% its normal size, or 25%? You can choose your filament based on these and other questions. The software spits out the toolpath, which you can then load into the printer. Once loaded, the printer will heat up (remember, we’re melting plastic) and begin laying down plastic. Depending on the details you’ve chosen it could take a few hours to a few days for prints to complete.

The library will be having workshops covering 3D printing in much more detail throughout the semester. For the time being, if you would like to experiment with this technology, please contact Lily Zhang or Gardner Treneman.

Here are a few places to check for already created models you may want to print:

From Special Collections and Archives: The Lincoln Ballot

One of the treasures in Special Collections and Archives is the 1860 Lincoln ballot, or ticket. These ballots are extremely rare; a similar but not identical Virginia ballot exists in the West Virginia State Archives while most other known Lincoln ballots are from northern states. Virginia was the only state in the south that included Abraham Lincoln on the Republican ticket for President in 1860. He received just one percent of the Virginia vote.

iamge of the Lincoln Ballot
Lincoln Ballot

Ballots were tallied and not permanently retained. These ballots were printed, most often by newspaper printing offices, and given to voters to be turned in at their polling places. The electors names appear on the ballot, as the vote is actually cast for the electors, who then vote directly for the Presidential candidates.

Learn more about our Special Collections & Archives at

Director’s Welcome, Fall 2017

Nancy Falciani-White image

It is my great pleasure to welcome you to Randolph-Macon College for the Fall 2017 semester. Some of you are returning after a fun/ productive/ boring summer, while for others, this is your first semester at R-MC. This is not my first semester, but it is my first fall semester in this community. I am looking forward to experiencing autumn in Virginia this year.

In the library we often talk about what we really want people to know about the library. It tends to come down to the nouns for us: People, Places, and Things, in that order. Or, if you prefer alliteration: Staff, Spaces, and Stuff.

  • The librarians and staff at the library can answer your questions, and make your search for information more efficient and effective. Whether you are a freshman or a professor who has been teaching and researching for thirty years, we want you to succeed. Resources and tools change frequently, and our friendly staff can connect you to the most current information available. If you aren’t sure who to ask, start at the Information Desk, and they can connect you to the person who can best answer your question.
  • The study and social spaces in the library have been designed and arranged with you in mind. The library tries to provide a space for everyone, so that you can study with: background noise, silence, friends, alone, in a comfortable chair, spread out at a table, at a desk, or standing up. If we don’t have what you like, let us know, as we plan on renovating our spaces in the next several years.
  • The stuff, or resources, that we provide include research databases, print books, ebooks, software, media equipment, and much more. Our electronic resources can be accessed anywhere you have internet access. If we don’t have what you need, we can connect you to it through local college and university libraries, or interlibrary loan.

What’s new?

  • Look for this button in our databases: . This button connects you to all the library subscription holdings, our print holdings, and interlibrary loan options, all with the click of a button. A librarian can help connect you, if you have any questions.
  • VIVA Cooperative Borrowing Program allows faculty, students, and staff of Randolph-Macon College to borrow from participating college and university libraries in Virginia. If you need a resource immediately, a university in Richmond might be able to lend it to you.
  • More tables in a popular location. Because of some online resources that we recently acquired, we were able to consolidate our microfilm and microfiche into smaller cabinets. This freed up space for an additional table in a popular study area near the DVD collection, and allowed more space between them.

Study tables in library

What will we be doing this fall?

  • Working on a strategic plan for the library, to determine where we want to be in 5-10 years, and how we can get there.
  • Planning and preparing for our upcoming renovation.
  • Continuing to adjust our collections and services to the continually changing needs of our campus.

Stay connected!

We want to hear from you. If you have suggestions for resources we should acquire, spaces we should reconfigure, events we should hold, or anything else, we would love to hear them! We don’t have an unlimited budget, but there are often creative ways to get things that we do with a little bit of planning.


September 4 on the Fourth – Welcome Back!

Welcome back!
For the month of September we’re highlighting books that will help make you more successful this school year.  You can find them in the McGraw-Page Library at the Information Desk book display.

The Infographic Guide to College
by Diane Garcia
Infographic Guide to College book cover
College survival just got graphic! There’s so much more to college than course guides and picking your dorm. From doing your own laundry to making friends to scoring a job and staying healthy, there’s no shortage of things to figure out! No need to panic. The Infographic guide to college has you covered with illustrated, realistic advice on how to: avoid the freshman 15, ace your exams, declare a major, master study habits, get around town, get along with your roommate, apply for a loan, and so much more!  Summary provided by publisher.
LB 2343.32 .G345 2017
Catalog Link – The Infographic Guide to College

Essential Writing Skills for College & Beyond
by C. M. Gill
Essential Writing Skills for College and Beyond book cover
Every student knows that writing a successful college paper is no small undertaking.  To make the grade, you need to express your ideas clearly and concisely.  So how do you do it?  In Essential Writing Skills for College & Beyond, you’ll learn down-to-earth strategies for organizing your thoughts, researching the right sources, getting it down on paper … and earning an A.  Summary provided by publisher.
PE 1408 .G55837 2014
Catalog Link – Essential Writing Skills for College & Beyond 

15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management
by Kevin Kruse
15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management book cover
Too many people think working hard leads to greater productivity. However, managing one’s time better is what gives us the energy to succeed in both our personal and work lives. This book provides advice from successful people on managing your time more effectively.  Summary provided by publisher.
HD 69 .T54 K78 2015
Catalog Link – 15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management


10 Steps to Earning Awesome Grades (while studying less)
by Thomas Frank
10 Steps to Earning Awesome Grades book cover
Becoming a more effective learner and boosting your productivity will help you earn better grades – but it’ll also cut down on your study time. This is a short, meaty book that will guide you through ten steps to achieving those goals: Pay better attention in class, Take more effective notes, Get more out of your textbooks, Plan like a general, Build a better study environment, Fight entropy and stay organized, Defeat Procrastination, Study smarter, Write better papers, Make group projects suck less, Whether you’re in college or high school, this book will probably help you. But not if you’re a raccoon. I want to be very clear about that; if you’re a raccoon, please buy a different book. This one will do absolutely nothing for you. How did you even learn to read, anyway? Summary provided by publisher.
LB 2395 .F68 2015
Catalog Link – 10 Steps to Earning Awesome Grades