harpy week: in which there is stuff. some of it mine

This week over at our illustrious blog of Harpyness:

  • On Monday I responded to commenter Skada's request for "women-empowering porn" with a post on where I go, on the internet and elsewhere, looking for erotic material. Decidedly not safe for work, but would love it if you hopped on over to share your own resources and thoughts in comments.
  • Wednesday saw a book review of From Disgust to Humanity by Martha Nussbaum which I'm honored to say was included in my friend Danika's round-up of queer reviews over at The Lesbrary.
  • And on Thursday, I threw together a link round-up / "first thoughts" post on the Department of Justice decision not to defend the Defense of Marriage Act. Haven't had a lot of time to read up on this one, what with one thing or another, but I thought folks might like to know what Jeffrey Toobin, Dahlia Lithwick, and Nancy Polikoff have to say about the short- and long-term ramifications of the new policy.
Marie Anelle wrote a post about her personal relationship with the Tumblr blog STFU, Parents; foureleven posted her thoughts about the public ridicule that follower a television anchor's on-air migraine symptoms; and BeckySharper offered thoughts (on behalf of all of us who blog at Harpyness) on what it means for us to identify as a "feminist" blog.


booknotes: making it legal

Through LibraryThing's Early Reviewer program I was sent an advance review copy of the second edition of NOLO's Making It Legal: A Guide to Same-Sex Marriage, Domestic Partnerships & Civil Unions, by attorneys Frederick Hertz and Emily Doskow (Berkeley, CA: NOLO, 2009; 2011). The book aims to be a practical nuts-and-bolts guide for same-sex couples considering marriage. It offers a whirlwind tour of the history of same-sex marriage, the current international and domestic context for such marriages, and the nitty-gritty of marriage and divorce laws as they apply to all couples -- as well as specific advice for same-sex couples who are considering forming legal relationships.

The authors go beyond describing legal rights and obligations and also discuss political activism and the emotional and sociocultural meaning -- and potential downsides -- of marriage commitments. Hertz, who appears to be the primary author of the text, describes himself as a cautious in his advice to couples seeking to enter marriage. "I'm often branded an antimarriage lawyer," he ruefully admits, "because I tend to focus on the risks and downsides of this powerfully attractive institution." He points out that "the legal structures of conventional marriage and the patchwork of nonrecognition by other jurisdictions create fairly serious legal problems for many couples, and it is just plain unwise for anyone to get married without understanding the potential risks and benefits" (3).

As someone in a lesbian relationship, and as someone who has actually discussed marriage with my partner, I found a lot of the practical legal information in this text helpful. Particularly useful are the state-by-state charts detailing what options, rights, and responsibilities same-sex couples have when entering into formal partnership agreements in different states. Hanna and I are fortunate enough to live in Massachusetts, one of the states that currently allows us to marry and enjoy all of the same state benefits as heterosexual married couples. However, these benefits do not extend to the federal level, nor would that marriage be considered valid in a number of other states (including my home state of Michigan) -- that's where the "nonrecognition" issue comes in. This means, practically, that same-sex marriage can be a bureaucratic headache. For example -- since it's that time of year -- married same-sex couples in the state of Massachusetts file a joint tax return at the state level ... but are single for the purposes of their federal tax returns. Which means creating a mock joint federal tax return and using those numbers for the state level returns. Even more tax paperwork -- the joy!

And if we ever moved across state lines for work or family need (or hell, for the pleasure of it) then the state we moved to would get to determine whether we were married or not, based on their own local laws. Not to mention if we decided to move internationally.

I found Making It Legal at its most annoying when it shifted away from describing the practial ramifications of same-sex partnership options (both forming and dissolving those partnerships) and attempted to tackle the other aspects of marriage, such as "applying logic to picking a partner." Wtf? Dude! You're not a trained marriage counselor so back the fuck off!

On the whole, though, it was a highly readable guide to the legal landscape, and one which I definitely plan on consulting as Hanna and I move forward with the business of making our relationship into a long-term reality ... however we decide to formally recognize it.


ficnotes: kissing john watson

by daisukikawaii 
As predicted, things are a bit scattered this week and blogging time is thin on the ground. But somehow conversation at our apartment wound its way around to the joys of kissing yesterday evening, and that made me think of this little gem of a fic from the superlative Miss Lucy Jane.

Title: Kissing John Watson
Author: Miss Lucy Jane
Pairing: John/Sherlock
Rating: PG
Length: 1900 words (one chapter)
Available At:
Fic authors playing with the BBC Sherlock universe tackle Sherlock's sexual history and inclinations in a number of different ways, each of which presents its own charms and dilemmas for a writer of smut. One of the most charming iterations is a Sherlock who has just discovered, through his relationship with John Watson, a whole new realm of sensual experience that provides him with an explosion of data. Sometimes this Sherlock is overwhelmed by the flood of new information, and sometimes -- as in this fic -- he embraces it with the enthusiasm of a child in a chocolate shop.


harpy week: 3 posts and 2 colds

from Fiendish
Hi folks. So the last couple of weeks have been a bit exhausting here around the feminist librarian household, as Hanna and I have both been struggling with bad winter colds (hers worse than mine; fingers crossed I don't relapse!). And we have a friend coming in from out of town to visit for the long weekend. So I may or may not get around to posting as usual next week. Just so's you aren't alarmed if nothing comes across your RSS feeds.

Meanwhile, here's the usual round-up from over at Harpyness from the passed seven days.

On Monday, in honor of Valentine's Day, I put up a post critiquing Dan Savage's "stick to your own" advice when it comes to dating and relationships. The post generated some heated discussion in comments concerning whether or not my interpretation of Dan's advice was acccurate, and whether or not said advice was actually prejudiced (as I suggest it is). So whether or not you agree with me, I'd suggest checking out the comment thread to see what folks have to say on the subject.

On Wednesday, I managed to get up a booknote on Judith Warner's 2005 polemic, Perfect Madness: Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety.  I read the book in tandem with Stephanie Coontz' history of The Feminine Mystique (reviewed two weeks ago) and was struck by how far we haven't come in terms of re-evaluating the demands of motherhood over the past half century. Nonetheless, I also felt frustrated by the author's narrow focus (upper-middle-class, heteronormative parenting) and the way she blamed feminist for the failure of society to change. By coincidence, this post went up in tandem with a guest post by regular reader/commenter Wingstaff, writing about work, family, and life as a military wife.

Marie Anelle wrote a post on Wednesday about sexism in our culture's response to illness, which I followed up on Thursday with a post about ageism and access to over-the-counter cold medications. There was a lively debate in the comment thread on cold medications about the acceptibility of society regulating teen access to over-the-counter drugs, particularly those which have the potential to be used in abusive, self-harming ways.

As always, wander on over to The Pursuit of Harpyness to check out the full range of posts that went up during the passed week.


zinenotes: unschooling diaries no. 1

I recently ordered the first volume of P.S. Pirro's new zine, unschooling diaries (no. 1 "In Media Res") from Mud River Press. It's a lovely little 16-page booklet bound with twine. P.S. is a blogger, artist, author, and (as is evident from the title of the zine) an unschooler.

I'm a novice in the zine genre, so I won't attempt to review this in the context of zines as an established medium, or the culture of self-published magazines. I will say that -- as much as I love blogging and love reading other peoples' ideas on the internet -- there's something tangibly delicious about actually holding a physical object that has been created by another human being. The texture of the paper and twine, the ink on the page. The font chosen, the images used. There's something in that experience that I find uniquely pleasing.

Perhaps that's the librarian in me talking? I dunno. But just the pleasure of holding an actual physical copy of unschooling diaries somehow seemed well worth the $3 cover price. Even before I opened the volume.

diaries reads like a cross between a chapbook and someone's commonplace book. Each page contains a distinct thought or idea, although arranged together they do create something sustained and connected. Integrated. I think my favorite idea might have been this one (p. 2)

How to unschool

1. Don't go to school
2. Find stuff you like to do
3. Do that stuff

Some unschoolers choose to go to school.
Find the operative word in that sentence.

Hint. If it isn't a choice,
it isn't unschooling.

There are dogmatic homeschoolers just like there are dogmatic believers in schooling. I've always appreciated that my folks consciously chose not to go the dogmatic route, and instead worked with my siblings to find a middle way ... both of them ultimately attended public school (one part-time, one full-time). And yet my parents still considered our family a "homeschooling" family. Because the point was that we were forming a life that worked for us, and tailoring the learning experience for each of us kids. It's about the philosophy of childcare and about how we understand human nature and the relationship of human beings to the natural and social world. Not about whether or not you set foot in school spaces.

Anyways. That's about all I can say about unschooling diaries thus far. If you're interested, you can purchase your own copy at Mud River Press or follow P.S. at her blog: unschooling & other persuasions.


ficnotes: the paradox series

Bunnies: They Are Scary, by AngryBeige
So I've recently been getting back into reading fan fiction, something I wrote a bit about over at The Pursuit of Harpyness a few weeks ago. This has been prompted in part by the pleasure Hanna and I and our friend Minerva have been having reading through the copious amount of fic associated with the new BBC Sherlock series. Mostly "slash" fic (sexually explicit fan-created fiction pairing characters from a show or novel and riffing on that relationship), and mostly John Watson / Sherlock Holmes slash (though Minerva has a particular weakness for Lestrade/Mycroft ... a pairing she has convinced us to reconsider!)
And because fic is what I've been reading, when I'm not reading blog posts, general nonfiction, or thesis-related stuff ... I thought, why not write "notes" about it like I do about the novels I read? So here's my first one: thoughts on The Paradox Series by Wordstrings (h/t to Minerva tipping me off to this particular fic's existence!).

First, the "publication" details:

Title: The Paradox Series (see chapters below)
Author: Wordstrings
Pairing: John/Sherlock
Rating: NC-17 overall, though not all chapters are so sexually explicit.
Length: Work in Progress, currently comprised of the following stories:
  • An Act of Charity (one chapter)
  • The Paradox Suite (one chapter)
  • The Death and Resurrection of the English Language (two chapters)
  • Entirely Covered by Your Invisible Name (two chapters)
  • Wider Than a Mile (one chapter)
  • New Days to Throw Your Chains Away (two chapters)
  • A Thousand Threads of What-Might-Have-Beens (three chapters)
Available At: Wordstring's LiveJournal (links to all chapters to-date, with author's notes)
Alternate Forms: Some chapters are available in MP3 form at Audiofic (amazing!)

So why did I choose to start out my (hopefully series of) ficnotes with this particular set of stories? In short: because I think they're genius. I realize is an entirely subjective opinion, so I'll try to articulate some of the reasons why and then (obviously) it'll be up to you to judge for yourselves.

A brief description. This series arc is written in alternating John and Sherlock point-of-view narratives, beginning with Sherlock's account of their first kiss ("An Act of Charity") and exploring their growing relationship through to "A Thousand Threads of What-Might-Have Beens" which is a three-part installment -- again from Sherlock's point of view -- about what happens when John walks out on Sherlock after one of Sherlock's experiements nearly ends in Sherlock's own death.

The Sherlock in this fic is dark, chaotic, and struggling with mental health issues. I don't know enough about mental health to identify what sort of "faulty wiring" he's dealing with, but whatever it is it manifests in bouts of mania and depression, feelings of numbness and terror at the sheer overwhelming nature of the world, fixations, obsessive and repetitive actions, and a fairly extreme distance from empathic emotions. To be clear, he's not incapable of empathy -- it reads more as if he's so overwhelmed by the prospect of caring for others with the intensity that he approaches all of his activities that he has just precluded this aspect of life.

Until John Watson arrives, of course. And refuses to leave. Refuses to be scared of Sherlock's darkness. Is, in fact, exhilerated by and lovingly understanding of Sherlock's darkness. While also acting as a grounding presence to help Sherlock discern "good" from "bit not good," and "fine" from "not fine."

John in this fic also embodies a fair bit of darkness. A figure of stability he might be, when compared to Sherlock's careering mania or gigantic -- sometimes drug-aided -- mood swings. Yet he also thrives in the adrenaline-pumped atmosphere that exists around Sherlock Holmes. And as much as he pushes back against the detective's more extreme impulses towards self-harm and harm to others (including, occasionally, to harm to John), he also thrills to it. As Sherlock observes more than once: They both love crime scenes.

The author has taken to prefacing each chapter of the fic with the following caution: "WARNING: this fic paints a picture of a relationship many reasonable people would find crosses the line into disturbingly possessive and/or flirting with actual abuse.  Also, if brief physical violence to a partner bothers you, skip this fic.  I'd never fault you for it in the slightest."  So if that kind of thing is a trigger for you or just isn't your cup of tea, you may want to skip this series. However, I'd argue that while John and Sherlock live on the edge and occasionally enjoy forcibily restraining one another or otherwise being fairly rough the actual quality of their relationship is deeply consensual and healing for them both. This could just be me. But. I want to throw that out there. Unless you know it's not your thing, please don't let the warning deter you.

Because Wordstrings has an achingly accomplished way with words, and if you let her she will weave her spell and draw you in and it will be brilliant.

Personally, I'm draw in by a few particular aspects of the way Wordstrings writes. The first is her ability with dialog and interior dialog. Her characters speak with very particular rhythms, and very human rhythms. Their sentences are fragments, faltering. Backing up and beginning again as the characters struggle to put language to their emotions and order to their thoughts. This is true for both John and Sherlock, though in utterly distinct voices.

The second thing I'm captivated by is the interiority of the narratives, the attention to detail. This makes me think that Wordstrings is (or has been) a poet, because her narrative prose has a lilt to it, a rhythm. And her language is very visual -- it has texture and precision the way my poetry professor years ago in undergrad used to encourage us to write. This fic explores the world of the senses. Something that both makes sense in terms of the way Sherlock makes sense of the world (what else is he but a creature of his senses?) and is also incredibly sensual. Because it encourages us to move into a mode where we are conscious of sensory input.

Third, I am seduced by the depiction, in Paradox, of a relationship in which each partner puts an incredible amount of care and effort into understanding the person whom they love. Again: it's the attention to detail. For Sherlock, this means cataloging John. He observes, notes, narrates, explicates John's material and emotional landscape in a way that is often much more nuanced than John himself can manage (or cares to undertake). He documents. Which is --  in my opinion -- an act of love.

Not all that might be needed, but certainly one act of caring: Attention.

John, for his part, attends to Sherlock by bridging what Sherlock assumed to be an unbridgeable gap. He is able to draw out from Sherlock, and help Sherlock make sense of, the contents of his highly disordered and frightening interior life. Sherlock is scared of himself: John faces that self without faltering. Flinching, perhaps. Failing, at times. But with the certainty that together they will perservere and communicate and connect.

Isn't this, in the end, what we all hope for in love? Someone who will see us in all our messy humanity and -- instead of rejecting us -- embrace us unconditionally? Help us make better sense of ourselves, help us translate ourselves into better human beings, than we would be able to manage on our own?

And finally, let me give a shout-out to FayJay @ Audiofic who has been reading Wordstring's installments aloud and uploading them as MP3 files. Fanfic read aloud. It's a rather lovely thing to be able to listen to such poetic language while on my morning commute or buying groceries at Trader Joe's.


the language of love

This one's for Hanna.
They smiled, comforted, joyful, trembling, certain that they would never settle for a brief
adventure, because they were born to share life in its totality and to undertake together the
audacity of loving each other forever.

~ Isabel Allende, Of Love and Shadows (126).


harpy week: sisters, mothers, lovers

Continued due to popular demand: The weekly round-up of posts I wrote at The Pursuit of Harpyness. This week I put up three posts on relationships.
  • On Monday, I wrote a post ruminating on the sister relationships in Masterpiece Theater's recently-aired "Downton Abbey." I asked readers to share some of their favorite examples of sibling relationships in books, movies, and television series. Check out the comments for thoughtful reflections on sister- and siblinghood.
  • Midweek, I put up a book review of Stephanie Coontz' A Strange Stirring, an account of Betty Freidan's famous feminist polemic The Feminine Mystique. Coontz documents readers' reactions to the work when it was first published and places the book within historical context. Even if Mystique is a book you love to hate, I highly recommend checking out Coontz' analysis. Stay tuned next week for the Wednesday review of Judith Warner's Perfect Madness which is, in many ways, a follow-up to Mystique for the 21st century.
  • And for the Friday Fun Thread, I shared some of my favorite literary love stories and threw open the floor for readers to share some of their own favorite titles. Feel free, on this Valentine's Day eve, to go add your own suggestions to the list.
In addition, SarahMC prompted a lively discussion about pornography in contemporary culture with a post on teenagers' and young men's relationship to pornography; PhDork ruminated on competitiveness in the classroom; and Marie Anelle described her parenting style (flying by the seat of her pants). We discussed pop culture's obsession with polygamy and on Thursday decided to establish Bradshaw's Law (invoke Sex and the City in a discussion about women these days: you automatically lose the argument).

Have fun!


booknotes: the self-organized revolution

The other day, while I was tracking down an errant citation for my thesis I happened to stumble upon the fact that an historian of education (and education alternatives activist) whom I greatly admire had put out a collection of essays on education activism in 2008 that I had somehow missed. So needless to say I ordered a copy. In The Self-Organizing Revolution: Common Principles of the Education Alternatives Movement (Brandon, VT: Holistic Education Press, 2008), author Ron Miller considers a variety of "education alternatives" (home-based education, Waldorf and Montessori schools, free schools, etc.) and suggests that although they have historically been resistent to collectively identifying as a movement in fact practitioners and advocates do have a common set of core principles.

The principles Miller identifies are:
  • Respect for every person, including children (human rights)
  • Balance (openness rather than fixed ideology)
  • Decentralization of authority (human scale democracy)
  • Non-interference between political, cultural, and economic spheres of society
  • A holistic or integrative perspective
To me, it is interesting to think about how these five principles or perspectives on humanity, social organization, and human growth, articulate a particular subculture that stretches across different educational counter-cultures (i.e. the home education movement) but doesn't wholly define any one of them. There are home educators out there who in no way subscribe to this vision of how education could or should be. There are public school teachers who struggle within the confines of institutional education to live out a form of education that fits this paradigm. I appreciate how Miller is trying to build bridges between segments of a very heterogeneous bunch of folks (what was that about herding cats again?)

I'm particularly pleased to see the way he foregrounds the issue of human rights and children's rights. "Rather than treating individuals as a means to some culturally determined end (such as national pride or global economic dominance)," he writes, "this perspective insists that every human being is an end in oneself" (48). Decentralization of authority and the principle of noninterference follow from this first principle: in order to ensure that the needs of individuals are not subsumed by the interests of the state or the interests of corporations, education must be dis-entangled from government and for-profit enterprise.

This is not to say Miller believes that the government should not play any role in ensuring that all individuals have access to educational opportunities. Only that he does not believe the government should dictate what should be in the curriculum and how it should be taught. I am not particularly persuaded by his vision of voluntary community-run charities to fund educational programs. But I see in it the seeds of a new way of thinking about funding education: A future system that operated more like the National Endowment for the Humanities, perhaps, than like No Child Left Behind.

This is definitely a book written for movement "insiders" -- folks who already have at least some working knowledge of pedagogical theories and practices, the major thinkers in counter-cultural education, and the recent history of educational alternatives. If you weren't familiar with the work of people like John Holt or know at least a thumbnail version of the history of Montessori education the book might feel pretty shallow and cursory to you. Even I would have appreciated a bit more fleshing out of Miller's vision of what a human-right-centered education would look like. Other historian-activists such as Joel Spring (Wheels in the Head) and Clive Harber (Schooling as Violence) have written a much greater length about possible models for an alterntiave to the national-military-industrial model we're currently stuck with and flailing to sustain.

You can read selections of Miller's work -- including some of the essays that make up this book -- online at Paths of Learning.


call to participate: preliminary survey on women & erotica use

via Charlie Glickman

Are You a Woman Who Views, Reads, or Listens to Pornography, Erotica, Romance Novels, and/or any other Sexually Explicit Materials?

If so, please share your experiences!

Complete a Short Survey (30 min or less) and Contribute to a Scholarly Understanding of Women’s Experiences with Sexually Explicit Materials

My name is Kari Hempel and I am a female psychology graduate student who is doing my dissertation research on women’s experiences with sexually explicit materials. For too long women’s real experiences with these materials have been ignored. My goal is not to judge anyone’s experiences, but to accumulate surveys from as many women as possible around the country about their positive, negative, and/or mixed experiences with sexually explicit materials, and to present the differences and commonalities in a scholarly, respectful fashion.

Your Participation is Completely Confidential

Any identifying information that is asked for in the completion of this study will be kept completely confidential and will be destroyed once the study is complete.

You Qualify for Participation If:

  • You are a woman (at least 18 years old)
  • You currently view, read, or listen to any written, audio, visual, or audio-visual material that is sexually explicit (including but not limited to films, magazines, novels, and audio-recordings)
  • You currently live in the United States

To Participate Go To:


If you have any questions or concerns, please call or email me. I am happy to address them!
Kari Hempel, MA
I just completed the survey myself this morning. Some of the questions are worded oddly ... but I always think that with multple-choice questions! And there's the opportunity at the end to sign up if you're interested in being interviewed by Ms. Hempel more extensively as part of her research project.

from the archives: the 1920s culture war

Over at the Massachusetts Historical Society website, the object of the month for February 2011 is an item I selected and wrote up. The object is a letter from a conservative Nebraska clergyman to an anticommunist, antifeminist political activist who lived in Massachusetts. Reverand Birmingham wrote Margaret Robinson in hopes that the two might work together to combat the evils of women's higher education:
In May of 1923, conservative evangelical minister, author, and lecturer Thomas M. C. Birmingham saw a brief announcement in an Omaha newspaper, describing a lecture given by Margaret C. Robinson, president of the Massachusetts Public Interests League, on the "radical propaganda" Robinson and her fellow activists believed was being disseminated in women's colleges.

Professors at women's colleges such as Bryn Mawr, Smith, and Wellesley, Robinson argued, were turning "wholesome American girl[s]" away from patriotism and the Constitution, preaching "Communist sex standards," calling the literal truth of the Bible into question, and exposing young women to the theories of Freud and Marx.  As a result, unsuspecting parents sent their daughters off to college and watched in horror as their child was transformed into "an undesirable type of citizen."

This message resonated with Birmingham, who wrote to Robinson, suggesting that the two activists might find "mutual helpfulness" in an alliance to "stamp out radicalism."
You can read the rest of my write-up and a full transcript of the two-page letter over at the MHS object of the month page.

The MHS is known for its 18th and 19th Century American holdings, and it has long had a reputation for holding documents related to the New England elite. Part of what I'm trying to bring to my work as a reference librarian is greater knowledge of the ways in which the MHS collections can inform research in less-obvious areas (i.e. my own areas of interest!) such as the history of sexuality, the history of gender, history of activism (left, right, and center) and 20th-century subjects. 

I picked this letter a few months ago to research and write up because I think it's valuable to remember that folks like those in the Tea Party movement are not the first populist conservative activists to wrestle with their more progressive adversaries over what it means to be an American and what exactly constitutes American values. I'm also fascinated by antifeminist women and how they understand themselves in relation to gender and women's rights movements. Female activists who campaigned against feminism while deploying tactics and rhetoric similar to their feminist contemporaries can further our understanding of how individuals understand their own gender identity and how gender roles relate to the state and social order.

Anyway. Hop on over to the MHS website and check out the whole thing.


harpy week: sex and identity, sex and the law, and asexual sensuality

This week at The Pursuit of Harpyness marked the start of my second month of group blogging. Not sure if these weekly round-ups are of any use to y'all ... feedback is welcome!

I don't want to be redundant if anyone who cares is just following the Harpy blog. But I also don't want to leave folks out who want to keep up with what I'm writing, but don't necessarily want to follow a group blog. So please do let me know if you have strong feelings one way or another!
The other Harpy writers were busy also, posting about separate sleeping arrangement for married couples (another really interesting comment thread) and the Republican's attempt to legally narrow the definition of "rape" within the context of healthcare reform. Hop on over the The Pursuit of Harpyness and check out (or even become part of!) the conversations.


from the archives: reflections on month-the-first

I've been in my new position at the Massachusetts Historical Society for about a month now, and things are still a mix of old and new. In part because I'm still part of the library staff, and the substantial (and most important!) part of my job hasn't changed: I spend my days helping patrons find the stuff that will help meet, in the jargon of the library science world, their "information needs." You can read about some of the folks we've had in this month over at The Beehive (the MHS blog):
Local Researcher Uses MHS to Populate Wikipedia Pages | 2011-01-28

Our Youngest Researcher | 2011-01-14

Alexander Kluger Presents at Brown Bag Lunch | 2011-01-13

Welcome Short-term Fellow Mary Kelley | 2011-01-12
In addition to my regular duties, I am now the coordinator of the image permissions requests that (surprisingly often!) come in from researchers who are seeking to reproduce photographs, artifacts, documents, maps, etc., in their soon-to-be-published books, articles, online websites, and exhibitions. Soon, I'll be taking on the the citation permissions as well (when folks write simply to quote an unpublished document rather than visually reproduce it).

For the month February, we're looking forward to welcoming two new staff members onto the library team, part-time library assistants who will be taking on the responsibilities I held as a part-timer myself. We're looking forward to being fully-staffed again after six weeks of being down two staff members. More to come as the adventure continues!


a year of feminist classics, month two: the subjection of women

unknown woman reading
from the National Media Museum
The Year of Feminist Classics challenge was off to a good start last month with Mary Wollstonecraft's A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792). Check out the project blog for good conversation, contextual information, and links to participants' own blog posts on the text and the experience of reading.
This month, the group is moving on to read another classic English-language text, this the 19th century essay on "The Subjection of Woman" (1869) published by philosopher John Stuart Mill and likely written in cooperation with his wife, Harriet Taylor Mill. As with Vindication, this work is out of copyright and can be found in multiple formats online.
Internet Archive (various formats to read online and download)

Project Gutenberg (various formats to read online and download)

LibriVox (MP3 audio download)
Please join in with the conversation if you are interested and have time to read even an excerpt of the work. And looking ahead to March, the readers will be moving into new territory with Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House.