Banned Books Week

Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.”

—Article 3, Library Bill of Rights

September 21-27 is Banned Books Week—an annual event launched by the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom to “promote awareness of challenges to library materials and celebrate[s] freedom of speech.”

The Banned Books Week Website includes a variety of information, including top ten lists of challenged books from the past decade. The 2011 list includes the legal classic To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee.

Federal Courts have struck down a variety of efforts to ban access to books. A list of some of these cases is available on the ALA website here.

Spy Wit’ Ye Eye These Resources Fer Researchin’ Piracy Law

Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day! While talk o’ pirates makes us think o’ Captain Hook and Long John Silver, piracy on t’ high seas be serious matter o’ international maritime law.

Th’ primary legal framework governin’ prevention ‘o piracy be th’ 1982 United Nations Convention on th’ Law ‘o th’ Sea (UNCLOS). Article 101 ‘o UNCLOS states:

Piracy consists of any of the following acts:

(a) any illegal acts of violence or detention, or any act of depredation, committed for private ends by the crew or the passengers of a private ship or a private aircraft, and directed:

(i) on the high seas, against another ship or aircraft, or against persons or property on board such ship or aircraft;

(ii) against a ship, aircraft, persons or property in a place outside the jurisdiction of any State;

(b) any act of voluntary participation in the operation of a ship or of an aircraft with knowledge of facts making it a pirate ship or aircraft;

(c) any act of inciting or of intentionally facilitating an act described in subparagraph (a) or (b).

Useful online resources on th’ international law ‘o piracy include:

 

 

HAPPY CONSTITUTION DAY!

Today is the 227th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution. Pursuant to 36 U.S.C. §106, September 17 is designated as “Constitution Day and Citizenship Day”, and under 36 U.S.C. §108, the President is requested to “designate the week beginning September 17 and ending September 23 as ‘Constitution Week.’”

Useful resources about the U.S. Constitution include:

  • American Memory (Library of Congress) Find documents from the Continental Congress and Constitutional Convention (1774-1789), includes images of original documents and related materials. 
  • Founder’s Constitution (University of Chicago Press) Provides links to historical documents related to the development of the Constitution. 
  • LII: CRS Annotated Constitution Prepared by the Congressional Research Service, provides links to Supreme Court opinions, the U.S. Code, and the Code of Federal Regulations.
  • National Archives Images of original documents and historical information