Archive for the ‘banned books’ Category

Welcome back, UT Tyler! What an impressive slate of events they have planned. Read on…

The UT Tyler Robert R. Muntz Library is announcing the following events in observance of the International September Project. This is our third year participating in the September Project. Since 2004, libraries around the world have organized events about freedom and issues that matter to their communities during the month of September. This grassroots project favors free over fee, public over private, and voices over silence. In addition, September is also the month for Constitution Week (September 17-23) and for Banned Books Week (this year it falls on September 25 to October 2). We bring those events under our umbrella of the September Project as well.

The library will host or present the following activities this month:

  • Thanks to the generosity of the Mary Tyler Chapter of the Daughter of the American Revolution (DAR), the library is hosting an exhibit in honor of Constitution Week. This exhibit is on view in the second floor and on one of the two display cases on the third floor. This exhibit will run through the month of September. It can be viewed during library regular hours. The theme of this year’s display is “Historic Preservation, Education and Patriotism.”
  • The Muntz Library is hosting a Texas Humanities exhibit entitled The Bonfire of Liberties: Censorship of the Humanities. This is one of our activities for Banned Books Week as well as the September Project. The exhibit looks at the history of censorship in the field of the humanities, showing how many works we consider classics have been considered controversial at one point or another. This exhibit is made possible by a grant from the UT Tyler Friends of the Arts (FOA).
  • And our big event: We are happy to announce that we will do a screening of the film Charlie Wilson’s War on Thursday September 30 at 7pm. This will take place in LIB-401. The film presents the story of East Texas Congressman Charlie Wilson’s covert dealings in Afghanistan, where his efforts to assist rebels in their war with the Soviets have some unforeseen and long-reaching effects (from imbd.com description). The film also gives a look at how the federal government works and how funding for things like wars is done. We are pleased to announce also that Dr. James Newsom, Senior Lecturer from the History Department, will be the guest speaker for the event. Dr. Newsom will deliver some remarks and provide some context for the film.

These events are free and open to the public.


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Very cool banned books kickoff event at the California State Library. If you’re in the area, listen to folks read from banned books every 15 minutes. What a great idea!

Banned Books to Be Read Aloud by Local Celebrities

Sacramento – Excerpts from banned books will be read aloud at the California State Library for five hours on Wednesday, September 22, in celebration of the freedom to read and the First Amendment. Notable city and state leaders, journalists, librarians, educators, and representatives from labor, sports, and non-profit councils will read from books that have been banned or challenged in the US.

The event will be held in the Fragrance Garden of the California State Library, 900 N Street, Sacramento, from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The public is invited to attend some or all of the readings, which are scheduled at fifteen minute intervals throughout the afternoon. Light refreshments will be served.

This program is a kick-off for the American Library Association’s Banned Books Week, held annually during the last week of September.  Banned Book Week highlights the benefits of free and open access to information and draws attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted banning of books across the United States. This year Banned Books Week runs from September 25 to October 2.

The schedule of readings is as follows:

11:30 a.m. Rivkah Sass, City of Sacramento Librarian, Importance of Freedom of Speech
11:45 a.m. Nancy Lenoil, State Archivist, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
12:00 p.m. Dr Nadeen T. Ruiz, Director, Serna Center CSU Sacramento, Friends from the Other Side
12:15 p.m. Jess Zaker, Lipstick Librarian, Sac City Rollers; Sac City Librarian, And Tango Makes Three
12:30 p.m. Pallas Hupé, CBS 13 News Anchor
12:45 p.m. Sandra Swafford, California State Library Board Member
1:00 p.m. Jeffrey Callison, Host of Insight on Capital Public Radio, Of Mice and Men
1:15 p.m. Ralph Lewin, President & CEO, California Council for the Humanities
1:30 p.m. Mark S. Allen, CW31 Good Day Sacramento
1:45 p.m. John Cornelison, California Research Bureau, California State Library2:
2:00 p.m. Bill Leonard, Secretary of State and Consumer Services, Bible
2:15 p.m. Susan Bassett, Governmental Relations Consultant, A Light in the Attic
2:30 p.m. Linda Adams, Secretary, California EPA, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
2:45 p.m. Maria Kochis, Librarian, CSU Sacramento, Valley of the Horses
3:00 p.m. Danny Curtin, Director, California Conference of Carpenters
3:15 p.m. Mariko Yamada, Assemblywoman, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn2
3:30 p.m. Ira Bray, Library Development Services, California State Library, Lord of the Flies
3:45 p.m. Murial Johnson, Director, California Arts Council
4:00 p.m. Gavin Ferguson, The Wake Up Call at 107.9, Catcher in the Rye
4:15 p.m. Player for the new Sacramento Mountain Lions UFL Football Team
4:30 p.m. Stacey A. Aldrich, State Librarian of California, Closing Passage

Local support for the Banned Books event is provided by the California State Library Foundation and by the readers, who are giving generously of their time.

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It’s always a joy to hear from Sandy Whipple of the Goffstown Public Library in Goffstown, NH. She recently shared a description of the events from this past weekend and of those that are scheduled throughout September at her library. We’re always thrilled to get a peek at the events that happen around the globe, and as you’ll see below, Sandy’s photos from the 2009 events at her library did not disappoint.  As always, I’m certain those who attended her programs this weekend were thankful that Sandy and staff take time to organize thoughtful and creative events each September. Here’s what Sandy shared:

Inspired by Bill Erbes of Libraries Remember, we will remain open for 24 hours on 9/11, offering an array of programs, of which the candlelight vigil has become an important component. In addition, we will continue our knit a thon which has produced 750 helmet liners since last September. Sent to deployed troops, they offer a warm, made with love piece of home. We will be repeating the Thank a Hero cardmaking, which this year will include requests for non-military youth in the community to compose notes to military youth which will be included in Operation Military Kids Hero Backpacks. Since NH will be experiencing one of the largest deployments of Guard Members in its history on 9/11, these events are particularly apropos. Multiple showings of the award-winning film, “Taking Chance“, will provide a rarely seen side of a military ritual that illustrates the price of war in a unique, and profoundly moving way.

To round out the month, we will honor Banned Books Week in “Out of Silence”, a collaborative with the Afghan Women’s Writing Project. Featuring guest readers of all ages, we will lift the imposed veil of silence from the Afghan women who risk so much to have their voices heard.

Enjoy the pictures from last year which include the candlelight vigil, card-making and knitters from our knit a thon.

As always, we hope our September Project offerings will continue to Inspire, Challenge and Engage!


Sandy Whipple
Adult Services & Outreach
Goffstown Public Library
2 High Street
Goffstown, NH 03045

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We recently received an email from Fatima Darries, Faculty Library Leader of Economic and Management Science at Merensky Library at the University of Pretoria in South Africa. Fatima writes:

Dear Colleagues,

Rather late than never, I would like to tell you about the Library of the University of Pretoria’s September Project.

September is heritage month in South Africa, and a good opportunity to celebrate our freedom, in particular our freedom of expression. We decided to do an exhibition of books that were banned during the Apartheid era, and encourage students to read the once banned books.

Supported by our literature information specialist, Adrienne Warricker, one of our assistants, Niel de Kock, hunted down these previously banned books in our collection. This task was unexpectedly more difficult than we anticipated because these books were now completely integrated into the collection, when they were previously in a separate special collection. We also found many of the previously banned books were not in our collection, exactly because they were banned, and libraries had to have special motivations to acquire them during the Apartheid era. Many more is now out of print.

We also called in the help of our colleague in Special Collections, where the previously banned books were housed before their integration into the open collection. He explained what the process and procedures were around access to these books. We thank Pieter van der Merwe for his contribution.

On the 17th of September we had our exhibition in the main library. I include some photos of the exhibition. Niel de Kock also compiled a presentation which we ran on the plasma screens in the Library on that day and subsequently during September.

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As many of you know, David and I have been preoccupied with things a bit more cute and cuddly than the September Project… the birth of our daughter. While I haven’t had time to blog on the site, I have had time to reflect upon all of the incredible work libraries do each day in addition to the inspiring events filling the September Project listserv and web site.

banned books baby

Before our daughter arrived, I had some time to consider her future as a library user and created a slogan for a t-shirt that bespoke her mom’s passions. What better way to share my thoughts than emblazon them on my daughter? 🙂

Here’s to everything libraries stand for, and to all of the future library users out there who will continue to benefit from the hard work of librarians everywhere.

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“Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.” —Article 3, Library Bill of Rights

It’s difficult to imagine a world without F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye or John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath. These classics have several things in common: they form the foundation for many high school English classes across the United States, they continue to influence generations of readers around the world and they have been the target of unrelenting censorship for the past century.

These three novels are only a few of the many books challenged by censors over the years who did not want their communities influenced by the ideas presented in them. Some books were challenged by schools as being unfit for minors and others have been banned by national governments. William Golding’s Lord of the Flies faced a complaint at an Owen, NC high school because it was “demoralizing inasmuch as it implies that man is little more than an animal.” Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird was unsuccessfully challenged at Warren Township, IN schools for “psychological damage to the positive integration process ” and because it “represents institutionalized racism under the guise of good literature.” Copies of Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises were burned in a huge Nazi bonfire in 1933.

Considering how influential these works of literature have been on modern thought, it is frightening to imagine what our world would look like if censors had succeeded in eradicating these books altogether. What would life be like if the only books we had access to were the ones that authorities deemed “appropriate?” After all, who gets to decide what is “appropriate?”

Twin Hickory Public Library, Glen Allen, VA [from boingboing.net]

Banned Books Week

In response, the American Library Association (ALA) established Banned Books Week in 1982 to celebrate the freedom to choose and express any opinion, no matter how unorthodox or unpopular. For the past 28 years, libraries across the country celebrate annually by setting up displays of banned books, facilitating community discussions about censorship and creating interactive events for patrons to celebrate the freedom to read.

Many of our libraries celebrate Banned Books Week as part of their own September Project. Last year Campbell County Public Library System, in rural Virginia, featured an awesome display of Banned Books from the Long Island Coalition Against Censorship exhibit. Goffstown Public Library in New Hampshire, along with a Banned Books exhibit, held a “Create a Poster” contest for young adults to celebrate and appreciate American rights. They also awarded free copies of banned books to winners of their daily Banned Books Quizzes. Multnomah County Library in Portland, Oregon featured author and lawyer Steven T. Wax as the guest speaker in their forum, Cafe Banned: Celebrating the Freedom to Read.

This year, Banned Books Week will be September 26- October 3. We encourage you to host Banned Books events at your own library (you could even turn it into a month-long celebration), and we hope you will share your ideas with us! We’re very excited to hear about all of the fun and exciting new ideas you will incorporate Banned Books Week into your very own September Project!

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Over the past five years, many libraries have organized September Project events around Banned Books Week (September 27–October 4). There’s plenty of books to choose from, and some libraries have organized events, others designed displays, and some even held theatrical events. But have any ever focused on the books that were challenged in their state? I’m not aware of any, and today I learned of a wiki for books that were challenged in Montana: http://mlaif.pbwiki.com/Montana+Challenged+Books

What an interesting topic, and a good way to spark discussion. Any takers?

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