“Calling B*!!$#@t” Class

Welcome to Butte Public Library’s new “Calling Bullshit” class!1 What, exactly, is bullshit? American philosopher Henry Frankfurt first coined the term in 1985, and academics have debated the question ever since. For the purposes of this class, Bullshit is language, statistical figures, data graphics, and other forms of presentation intended to persuade by impressing and overwhelming a reader or listener, with a blatant disregard for truth and logical coherence. Learning Objectives Our learning objectives are straightforward. After taking the course, you should be able to: Remain vigilant for bullshit contaminating your information diet. Recognize said bullshit whenever and wherever you encounter it. Figure out for yourself precisely why a particular bit of bullshit is bullshit. Provide other people with an accessible and persuasive explanation of why a claim is bullshit. We will be astonished if these skills do not turn out to be useful and broadly applicable. Discussion Guidelines Being critical and using critical thinking are not the same thing. You can disagree with opinions, but no personal attacks (a common logical fallacy). You can and should criticize issues we are discussing, based on the tools learned in the class. View news through an information literacy lens. This is not a public policy class, so we don’t need to debate the pros and cons of a specific policy or proposal. We want to understand how stories, policies, and proposals are communicated. Through the information literacy tools covered, we want to learn what and why something works or doesn’t work. Name the medium and specify the source. Is it the news media? Or social media? TV? Is it a news...

WWI Memorial Exhibition @Carle Gallery

April 2017 is the 100 year anniversary of the US entry into WWI. The Carle Gallery is hosting an exhibit to celebrate this commemoration. The exhibit consists of both informational and copies of WWI propaganda posters from the Library of Congress online collection. The text focuses on the impact in Montana, particularly in Butte....

“Calling B*!!$#@t” Evening Class

Join the Butte Public Library beginning in April for an 8-week class on “Calling B*!!$#@t”. Every Tuesday evening from 6:30-7:30 from April 4th-May 23rd, anyone interested in exploring the nature of arguments, facts, and thoughtful analysis is welcome as we explore the following in a course-like environment: Topics Week 1: Introduction to B*!!$#@t Week 2: Spotting B*!!$#@t Week 3: Logical Fallacies Week 4: Statistical traps Week 5: Visualization Week 6: The ethics of calling B*!!$#@t. Week 7: Fake news Week 8: Refuting B*!!$#@t According to Carl Bergstrom and Jevin West, the creators of a University of Washington course that this library class is based on: Bullshit involves language, statistical figures, data graphics, and other forms of presentation intended to persuade by impressing and overwhelming a reader or listener, with a blatant disregard for truth and logical coherence. Calling bullshit is a speech act in which one publicly repudiates something objectionable. The scope of targets is broader than bullshit alone. You can call bullshit on bullshit, but you can also call bullshit on lies, treachery, trickery, or injustice. In this course we will teach you how to spot the former and effectively perform the latter. The aim of this course is to help the public identify bullshit, see through it, and combat it with analysis and argument. This class does not focus on any one political ideology; both sides of the aisle have a track record of spreading bullshit. Each week will include discussion, assigned readings, and optional resources for delving more deeply into the topic. Washington Post reporter Linton Weeks believes that “In the nonstop tsunami of global information,...

2nd Annual Edible Book Festival

In conjunction with National Library Week, Butte Public Library is holding its 2nd Annual Edible Book Festival on Saturday, April 8 at 3:00 pm! The Edible Book Festival is an annual event usually held on or around April 1, which is also known as Edible Book Day. The global event has been celebrated since 2000 in various parts of the world, where edible books are created, displayed, and small events are held. The creations are photographed, judged by a panel of judges, and then consumed. There are two rules: entries must be edible and they must somehow relate to a book. Edible books can look like a book in form and shape, be inspired by a book or author, can be a pun of a book title, can refer to a book character, reproduce a book cover, or just have something to do with books in general. Entries may be made from anything that is edible (cake, bread, crackers, Jell-o, fruit, vegetables, candy, etc.) as long as it can sit out for an hour or two without melting, turning bad, or getting scary. Last year, the courageous participants in the 1st Annual Edible Book Festival explored a multiplicity of genres and foods. Whether you’re a professional chef or just like to play with your food, the festival is open to anyone in the community. If you need ideas, an online search of “Edible Book Festival” provides plenty of inspiration! Schedule for the 2017 Edible Book Festival on Saturday, April 8, 2017. 1:30-2:30pm – Participants drop off edible entries on the 3rd floor of the library in the Big Butte...

BSBPL Book Club Suggested Reading List

Here are some recent suggestions for our book club reads: Immortal Irishman by Timothy Egan The Irish-American story, with all its twists and triumphs, is told through the improbable life of one man. A dashing young orator during the Great Famine of the 1840s, in which a million of his Irish countrymen died, Thomas Francis Meagher led a failed uprising against British rule, for which he was banished to a Tasmanian prison colony. He escaped and six months later was heralded in the streets of New York — the revolutionary hero, back from the dead, at the dawn of the great Irish immigration to America.    Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital with more than twenty years’ experience. During her shift, Ruth begins a routine checkup on a newborn, only to be told a few minutes later that she’s been reassigned to another patient. The parents are white supremacists and don’t want Ruth, who is African American, to touch their child. The hospital complies with their request, but the next day, the baby goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is alone in the nursery. Does she obey orders or does she intervene? Commonwealth by Ann Patchett  The acclaimed, bestselling author—winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Orange Prize—tells the enthralling story of how an unexpected romantic encounter irrevocably changes two families’ lives.One Sunday afternoon in Southern California, Bert Cousins shows up at Franny Keating’s christening party uninvited. Before evening falls, he has kissed Franny’s mother, Beverly—thus setting in motion the dissolution of their marriages and the joining...