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Working in the Archives: Researching Fred Patten, furries, and counter-culture media at UC Riverside

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EC-ETON.jpg Located at the University of California's Riverside campus is the Eaton Collection of Science Fiction & Fantasy, a world-renowned archive of books, film, fanzines, and ephemera documenting and evoking the history of sci-fi and fantasy fan culture. Originally formed in 1969, when collector and physician Dr. J. Lloyd Eaton donated his library consisting of "about 7,500 hardback editions of science fiction, fantasy and horror from the Nineteenth to the mid-Twentieth centuries", the Eaton is considered one-of-the-world's largest collections of papers and documents entangled with its subjects. While much of the collection remains to be processed - COVID-19 notably limiting work since early 2020 - both students and staff see the archive as a hidden treasure, with the collection holding such things as first-editions of Dracula, Frankenstein, and Fahrenheit 451.
 

Furries help push fundraising for Mississippi library after a mayor withheld funding in blackmail attempt to censor books

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Gene McGee, the mayor of Ridgeland, a northern suburb of the capital city of Jackson, withheld $110,000 from the Madison County Library System. According to the Mississippi Free Press, the executive indicated he would not release the allocated dollars until the library agreed to purge any “homosexual materials”.

The release of this news had set one particular furry into activist mode. Soatok Dhole, a non-fiction furry writer who covers issues around the fandom, social media, and technology, started a thread on his Twitter account pushing for help from the furry fandom to help bridge the gap in the library’s funding. In it he linked to the library’s fundraiser whose goal was initially a modest $2,500, but has since extended multiple times due to reaching that threshold and beyond.

Tennessee school bans 'Maus', graphic novel involving holocaust history, from school for "language and nudity"

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Maus When we discuss adult themes such as a government committing mass murder of its population, authors need to be wary not to say “God Damn” or have an unclothed character if they wish to reach a high school audience. These two items were front and center for the unanimous decision of a McMinn County school board as it barred the Pultzer winning graphic novel of Maus from its district curriculum. Maus is a graphic novel utilizing animal allegory to give a historical account of the holocaust.

The TN Holler has a full article of each of the board’s words on the removal of the book from the school. Many on social media are concerned that this is part of a trend of washing away the sins of authority by those that hold it. Though, given humanity’s inability to resist taking a bite of what is deemed as forbidden knowledge, banning the book within the classroom may rile the interest of rebellious teens to learn more about this banned literature outside the classroom.

U.S. Library of Congress created two furry subject headings in 2017

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A drawing of a fox reading a book When you look up library books on a computer, typically you get a description that goes something like this:

Title: Out of position
Author: Gold, Kyell
Publisher: St. Paul, Minn. : Sofawolf Press, 2014.
Description: viii, 324 p. : ill. ; 21 cm.
ISBN: 9780979149696
Subjects: Anthropomorphism--Fiction.
Tiger--Fiction.
Foxes--Fiction.
Gay college students--Fiction.
Football players--Fiction.

Furry artist in finals of San Francisco Public Library card design contest

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Library card designWalter Ringtail's comic strip Paw Valley features a gang of cartoon animal friends who often end up in ticklish situations.

Now, patrons of San Francisco's Public Library may be tickled to have his art work in their pockets.

According to this cartoon illustrated tour, seven million people a year pass through SFPL's main branch alone (one of 27 branches in the city). Library membership is over 350,000, with over nine million loans circulated per year. That's a lot of patrons who could become card-carrying appreciators of furry art!

3,000 submissions were received for the SFPL card design contest. Judges selected ten finalists in each of five age-based categories. The top vote-winners will be printed on SFPL library cards in 2013.

Walter Ringtail's submission "The Bedtime Story" was chosen for the adult level finals. Now, it's up to the public to vote for the winner.

Library director calls for fursuit-related policy review

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Library director Janet Nocek of Portland, Connecticut had her work cut out explaining furries to board members tonight after calling a meeting to review the library's behaviour policy, reportedly after fursuited visits to other local libraries raised fears of child enticement.

The piece in the Hartford Courant highlighted concerns about those visiting in disguise, and in particular non-religious use of hoods or masks (forbidden by the library's rules of conduct), which in this case might cause families to mistake fursuiters as official mascot characters.

Update (14 Sep): The issue was raised in a discussion thread started late last month by Henry Dutcher of Enfield. Initial replies were humorous, but the talk got more serious when he mentioned a child took a fursuiter's paw and was "led away by them" (within the library).

Update 2 (17 Sep): Television stations WFSB and NECN have also covered this story.

Ursula Vernon makes waves, ruffles feathers at NJ libraries

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Ursula Vernon's 'Capricorn'Ursula Vernon's mythological representation of Capricorn as a sea-goat was commissioned as the poster-beast of the New Jersey Summer Reading Program, and featured in libraries and promotional material across the state.

Her work was packed with symbolism, but turned out to be controversial in a way she had not anticipated. [snow pigeon]