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Banned Books Week 2017

Posted: Sep 24, 2017

Out-of-date Warning This news post is more than three months old and may contain out-of-date information.

Banned Books Week is the annual celebration of the freedom to read. This year, the coalition of organizations that sponsors Banned Books Week emphasizes the importance of the First Amendment, which guarantees our inherent right to read. It highlights the value of free and open access to information.

Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community — librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers — in shared support of the freedom to seek and express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular. See some of the banned books we've been reading!

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic
by Alison Bechdel

"As a young lesbian, reading Alison Bechdel’s story of coming of age and coming out was a bright spot in the confusing shadow of the closet. What upsets me most is that challenges to Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic came in the context of universities, with adult students who most assuredly can handle and understand sex. In college-level classes I have been required to read books depicting straight sexuality, and my discomfort or disinterest in these scenes would not exempt me from such reading despite so many panicking at even the sight of lesbian sexuality, calling us “borderline pornographic.” Why is a straight man drawing a nude woman art, and a lesbian drawing a nude woman pornography?"

Cecilia Franck — they/them pronouns
Senior Spanish Major with LGBT Studies Minor
Digitization Projects Assistant, Digital Collections and Media Reformatting

Daughter of the Forest
by Juliet Marillier

"This is actually one of my personal favorite books and means a lot to me. It's a story of a young woman forced into literal silence and yet triumphing over the darkness in her life while maintaining her compassion. I find it ironic that even though she is able to become a master of her fate, there are still those who would wish to silence her. "

Ashley Haddix
User Services & Resource Sharing Graduate Assistant

The Disappearing Spoon: And Other Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of Elements
by Sam Kean

"Science is the story we tell about the journey of discovery, and that story should never be censored."

Jesse Sigman
STEM Librarian

The Perks of Being a Wallflower
by Stephen Chbosky

"This is such an important book to me, so I was saddened to see it was a frequently challenged or banned. In the book, Chobsky writes “tell me how to be different in a way that makes sense,” which is a feeling many teenagers have during the turbulent time of young adulthood. The Perks of Being a Wallflower let me know that it was okay to feel alone and different and I hope others will read it and be comforted by it."

Elizabeth Soergel
STEM Librarian

The Things They Carried
by Tim O'Brien

"I am not actually outraged, but rather glad that this book is on the list because I always think the mark of a good book is that it makes people uncomfortable and thoughtful. I read this book in high school. My english teacher knew the author and so he came to speak to us. His talk and this book challenged my thinking on fact vs fiction and redefined the art of storytelling."

Celina N. McDonald
U.S. Government Documents, Law, Criminology and Criminal Justice Librarian

History Alive! The Medieval World and Beyond
by Bert Bower and Jim Lobdell

"The challenging of this material on the basis that it "glorifies Islam" is so completely insidious and illustrates the reductionist view that many have of the middle ages and highlights their misguided understanding that the middle ages represented some sort of homogeneous time of separated religious confessions and isolated ethno-states. In reality, the middle ages were a time of migrations, interactions, and cultural exchanges. Acknowledging this fact and that Islamic scholars were an important link between the Classical and the medieval world does not detract from Christianity or any other religion, but provides a truthful account of the global middle ages and may give Muslim students some shared sense of history when studying this period."

Jordan S. Sly
Anthropology, Psychology, & Special Populations Librarian

Browse through the collections at the Library Media Services page.

Carleton Jackson
Head of Media Services