Libraries’ Hosts Banned Books Read-Out With Campus Partners

Sept. 22, 2023, 10 a.m.

books open with letters BANNED spelled out in red above books

Syracuse University Libraries, in collaboration with The College of Arts and Sciences Department of English, is hosting a ‘Banned Books Read-Out’ on the 1st floor of Bird Library on October 4 from 4:00 – 6:30 p.m. The Read-Out invites readers across the University to share an excerpt from their favorite banned book. Participants are welcome to bring their own book or choose from one featured in the Libraries’ banned books display. Refreshments and banned books stickers will be provided. Other University departments sponsoring the event include LGBT Studies; Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics; Writing Studies, Rhetoric, and Composition; African American Studies; LGBTQ Resource Center; Tully Center for Free Speech; and the School of Information Studies’ Library and Information Science Master's Program.

“The university has a tradition of celebrating Banned Books Week. We've seen a tremendous surge of effort to censor and ban books, mostly by and about marginalized people and their experiences, which coincides with numerous mainstream political efforts to diminish the civil rights of those same groups of people - none of this is new, but it remains urgent. Students are aware of what's happening, and they want to resist. Last year's event was incredibly well-attended, and I look forward to watching students, faculty, and staff come read from their favorite controversial text at this year's read-out,” said organizer Katherine Kidd, Assistant Teaching Professor in English and Textual Studies, The College of Arts and Sciences.

Nationally, Banned Books Week is celebrated October 1 – 7, 2023. According to the American Library Association (ALA) website, “Banned Books Week celebrates the freedom to read and spotlights current and historical attempts to censor books in libraries and schools. For more than 40 years, the annual event has brought together the entire book community…in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular. The books featured during Banned Books Week have all been targeted for removal or restriction in libraries and schools. By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship…ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom documented 1,269 demands to censor library books and resources in 2022, the highest number of attempted book bans since ALA began compiling data about censorship in libraries more than 20 years ago…Of the record 2,571 unique titles targeted for censorship, most were by or about LGBTQIA+ persons and Black, Indigenous, and people of color. The theme for Banned Books Week 2023 is "Let Freedom Read."”

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