Monday, July 11, 2011

It's Time to Launch ISSA's Freethought Library!

When Ed, Franklin and I attended the 2011 CFI Student Leadership Conference last month, we had an opportunity to learn what sorts of things other campus groups from all over the U.S. and Canada do. Several mentioned having assembled miniature libraries of pertinent texts for their members. The idea resonated with me, slowly taking form in my mind over the course of the weekend. While I was lucky enough to have enrolled in a college philosophy class at 16 that turned me on to Dawkins and Harris -- and, by proxy, other heralds of freethought -- I am concerned how few of my peers have read some of the most basic literature on the subject. I want ISSA's members armed with the fundamental arguments for and against god, intelligent design, etc, in order to facilitate productive discussion and further inquire. To this end, I am founding ISSA's Freethought Library.


The "Freethought Library" will be portable, most likely housed in an appropriately-sized Rubbermaid container. For the coming academic year, it will stay at my place. Members will be able to request/sign books out via a GoogleDocs form, at which point I will bring the texts in question to the next weekly meeting. Books may be signed out for the duration a given semester. ISSA has been trying to get an office on the second floor of the Illini Union and, should we manage to do so for subsequent academic years, the library will reside in said office. Otherwise, we will appoint an officer to hold onto it. 

This is where you guys come in! I don't mean to lament the nature of university funding for student organizations, but it sucks. I mean, it really, really sucks. Our club only ever has enough money -- and just barely -- to bring in speakers, barring the occasional donation that makes it possible for us to do something as awesome as last year's bus ad campaign. Without your help, there would be no means for us to do something like this in the foreseeable future. So if you happen to have any extra copies of the texts listed below lying around, please consider donating them! Media mail is quite inexpensive -- a small price to pay to expand young minds! Simply email IlliniSSA@illinois.edu to find out where to send your old books. 

I'd also like to eventually get a stamp with our group's logo on it (and perhaps the words "Freethought Library") to clearly label club texts. Of course, that's a goal for a later day... It's library time! 

We're starting things off right with a contribution from ISSA officer Sam Shore. Thanks, Sam!

Our first four books: The God Delusion, The Greatest Show On Earth, The Gospel of the
Flying Spaghetti Monster and The Illustrated A Brief History of Time! Solid. 
Without further ado... Our wishlist!
Please feel free to make suggestions for additional items. I will be reposting the updated list every Monday morning. 

Also, if you're interested in supporting the Freethought Library but don't have any extra copies of appropriate texts lying around, please consider donating to our group via Paypal. Simply click the orange "donate" button in the upper right-hand corner, and make sure to specify that your donation is for the Freethought Library Fund! 

Thanks, guys! I can't wait to see how this evolves.  :) 

Yours in book-love,
Becca

6 comments:

Joanna said...

I think this is a most excellent idea! It receives the "Joanna Seal of Approval." I mean, it would, if there were such a thing. I don't know what it takes to make the cut, but how about some Michael Shermer?

Rebecca Tippens said...

Michael Shermer would be awesome! :)

Edward Clint said...

At first I was unsure, but with the Joanna Seal of Approval, I can endorse this event and/or activity.

Derek said...

I can donate my copy "Why People Believe Weird Things," temporarily at least.

onewildbook said...

One book I find interesting is, The Jesus Mysteries: Was the "Original Jesus" a Pagan God?

Here is the amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Jesus-Mysteries-Was-Original-Pagan/dp/0609807986

Damadam said...

I'll donate Hitchens' "The Portable Atheist" and "God Is Not Great" and Stenger's "God: The Failed Hypothesis".

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