Human Rights, the Brothers Wright and a Dewey Decimal Rap Inspire December Reads

Children and librarian in the Harwood Branch Library after school, in Taos County, New Mexico, 1941 (National Archives)

December 10 – Dewey Decimal System Day

Dewey Decimal System Day is observed annually on December 10, the birthday of Melvil Dewey (1851-1931) inventor of the Dewey Decimal system of library classification. The system, first published in the United States in 1876, is still used to classify books and other items in many libraries around the world by organizing information into 10 main subject areas. Listen to the Dewey Decimal Rap and check out your favorite subjects in the library.

Eleanor Roosevelt and United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Lake Success, New York (FDR Photos, National Archives)

December 10 – Human Rights Day

Human Rights Day is observed by the international community every year on December 10. It commemorates the day in 1948 the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. One of the most influential members of the United Nations’ Commission on Human Rights was Eleanor Roosevelt. The basic philosophy of the Declaration was that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act toward one another in a spirit of brotherhood.” Visit the library to read more about Eleanor Roosevelt and this important document.

James Madison statue in front of Bill of Rights (AP Photo)

December 15 – Bill of Rights Day

The first ten amendments, known as the Bill of Rights, became a part of the Constitution of the United States on December 15, 1791. One hundred fifty years later, on December 15, 1941, Franklin Delano Roosevelt issued a proclamation creating Bill of Rights Day. Learn more about the freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights from Russell Freedman’s In Defense of Liberty: The Story of America’s Bill of Rights and Kathleen Krull’s Kid’s Guide to America’s Bill of Rights.

First flight, 120 feet in 12 seconds, 10:35 a.m.; Kitty Hawk, North Carolina (Library of Congress)

December 17 – Wright Brothers Day

“For 12 seconds on December 17, 1903, a wooden aircraft took to the skies above Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, lifting two brothers from Dayton, Ohio, to their place in history. Their singular triumph triggered a revolution in transportation that would bridge the vast distances between continents and forever alter our world. Today we honor the enduring American spirit of creativity and innovation that made the Wright Brothers’ maiden flight possible.”  — President Barack Obama’s 2009 proclamation on Wright Brothers Day

Learn more about these daring inventors and their sister from Peter Busby’s First to Fly: How Wilbur & Orville Wright Invented the Airplane, Russell Freedman’s Wright Brothers: How They Invented the Airplane, Richard Maurer’s Wright Sister: Katharine Wright and Her Famous Brothers, Wendie Old’s To Fly: The Story of the Wright Brothers, and many other books available at the library.