Category Archives: Library History

Calling All Student Artists

In 2016, the library adopted a new bookplate, the third in its 50-year history. Bookplates are small, graphic art prints, usually placed on the book’s inside cover. In their 500 plus years of use they also became beloved by collectors, becoming an art form unto themselves. Rockwell Kent, Albrecht Durer, and Paul Revere are counted among artists who created bookplates.

The art of creating bookplates is not dead. Artists and graphic designers around the world regularly take on commissions to create new bookplates. Brown Library would like to expand its own bookplate tradition by engaging student artists to create a new bookplate for the 2017-2018 school year. The winner of this campus-wide contest will be awarded a prize of $100 and have his or her bookplate used in every other book processed by the library next year. The winning entry will be chosen by a panel of faculty and administrators. The award will be made during Spring Fling.

Visit the following website to learn more about the contest and art of the bookplate

VWCC Archives Needs Your Contributions

The purpose of the VWCC Archives is to preserve a historical record of the college. Brown Library houses the Archives and maintains an Archives web page with a searchable inventory of the archived items. Examples of materials contained in the archives include: college catalogs from 1966 forward, newsletters, photographs, employee directories, marketing materials, playbills and posters representing 45 years of the VWCC Theatre, committee minutes, and student projects.

We rely on your contributions of historical and new documents and materials to ensure that the Archives reflects an accurate history of the college’s programs and accomplishments. Please remember to send us relevant information on student organizations, pictures from events, newsletters, brochures, reports, and other materials as they are produced.

The Archives may be accessed during the regular library hours of operation. Materials preserved in the Archives are non-circulating, but we can make copies of certain items. For more information about the Archives, please contact Faith Janney (fjanney at or 540-857-6332).

Why Do Books Get Banned?

According to the American Library Assocation,

Books usually are challenged with the best intentions—to protect others, frequently children, from difficult ideas and information. See  Notable First Amendment Cases.

Censorship can be subtle, almost imperceptible, as well as blatant and overt, but, nonetheless, harmful. As John Stuart Mill wrote in On Liberty:

If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind. Were an opinion a personal possession of no value except to the owner; if to be obstructed in the enjoyment of it were simply a private injury, it would make some difference whether the injury was inflicted only on a few persons or on many. But the peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error.

— On Liberty, John Stuart Mill

Often challenges are motivated by a desire to protect children from “inappropriate” sexual content or “offensive” language. The following were the top three reasons cited for challenging materials as reported to the Office of Intellectual Freedom:

  1. the material was considered to be “sexually explicit”
  2. the material contained “offensive language”
  3. the materials was “unsuited to any age group”

Although this is a commendable motivation, Free Access to Libraries for Minors, an interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights (ALA’s basic policy concerning access to information) states that, “Librarians and governing bodies should maintain that parents—and only parents—have the right and the responsibility to restrict the access of their children—and only their children—to library resources.” Censorship by librarians of constitutionally protected speech, whether for protection or for any other reason, violates the First Amendment.

Keep checking back throughout the week for more activities and information about banned books!


American Library Association. “About Banned & Challenged Books.” American Library Association, 2012. Web. 1 Oct. 2012.

Come to our Grand Opening Thursday!

The library’s main floor renovation is finally finished, and we’re celebrating with a Grand Opening this Thursday! Come join the festivities and take a tour of our newest learning space on campus.

  • Come see and explore our Technology Petting Zoo. (We’ve got some Ring-Tailed iPads corralled.)
  • Bring your smart phone or tablet and participate in our QR Code Scavenger Hunt! One current student and one faculty/staff member will win an iTunes gift card.
  • Marvel at the changes the library has gone through with our History of Brown Library exhibit.
  •  Current students can enter to win one of our multiple prizes, drawn throughout the day!
  • Check out what your classmates have been doing with the BIO 141 art and poetry display.
  • And, oh yeah, we’ll have refreshments. Really good ones. (Available 10am-1pm and 4pm-7pm.)

The main floor is done and ready for YOU. Come find out why Brown Library is the place to meet, study, collaborate, research, and learn.

Main Floor of the Library Now Open!

The main floor of Brown Library is now open! Stop by and see the college’s newest learning environment. Java Express will have free coffee and cookies for students, staff, and faculty from 8am to 5pm on Monday, January 9th. (Staff and faculty must show ID.)

Our regular Spring Semester hours are:

  • Monday-Thursday: 8am-8pm
  • Friday: 8am-5pm
  • Saturday: 9am-1pm