As most librarians know, last week was Banned Books Week, and I was involved in a number of events in the library and in collaboration with the Progressive Librarians Guild – UA Chapter. See our library news story on how we celebrated.
First, we installed an exhibit in Research West. Almost all of the books were lent by library staff and students, leaving our own collection available for circulation during this important week. We covered the four glass exhibit cubes in black cardboard, caution tape, and warning signs, with small peep-holes for those daring to view the challenged literature. Already, we have had a great response from students. In fact, several people have said that they have never seen the exhibit so busy with people stopping to take a look! We certainly got their attention.
UA News decided to publish a story on our events, and then we even got the university’s UATV and Daily Wildcat interested, who interviewed me and did a story on the week’s events:
As mentioned in the video, we had an event (held last Wednesday night) which included a film screening, a “Read Out!” and a panel discussion. It was well attended with participants ranging from students to professors to community members. About a dozen participants went to the podium to read from challenged books as part of the Read Out, and following I performed a Pecha Kucha titled, “Challenging Censorship: Libraries as advocates for freedom and democracy.” Concluding the program was the panel which included two librarians and one English professor, who discussed issues ranging from dangerous publications about bomb-making to historically challenged classics to LGBT literature being banned in college classrooms. Audience members engaged in Q&A with the speakers, and everyone seemed to enjoy the evening which wrapped up soon after 8pm.