Banned Books Week Read Out
University Libraries at The University of Southern Mississippi will host Banned Books Week Sept. 21-27, 2014, as a part of the nationwide event to celebrate the freedom to read.
Typically held during the last week of September, Banned Books Week 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 of all types–-in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.
University Libraries will present the Southern Miss Read Out in the Cook Library Art Gallery Sept. 25. Members of the university faculty, staff and student body including Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Joe Paul, professor of journalism Dr. David R. Davies, and Honors College Dean Dr. Ellen Weinauer will read excerpts from their favorite banned books throughout the day.
“There is always confusion about censorship and banned books,” said Ellen Ruffin, curator of the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection at Southern Miss. “Well-meaning parents often lodge complaints or challenges concerning books their children are reading. Parents have the right to make those kinds of decisions for their own children, but what they deem appropriate may be in direct conflict with other parents.
“In the United States of America, we have basic freedoms, and by drawing attention to Banned Books Week, we hope to remind people of their freedoms - to read, to believe, and to choose,” Ruffin said. “The American Library Association’s document on the Freedom to Read begins by stating that the freedom to read is essential to our democracy. One of my favorite quotes is from Voltaire, who said, ‘I may not agree with what you have to say, but I will defend your right to say it.’”
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. The books featured during Banned Books Week have all been targeted with removal or restrictions in libraries and schools. While books have been and continue to be banned, part of the Banned Books Week celebration is the fact that, in a majority of cases, the books have remained available. This happens only because of the efforts of librarians, teachers, students and community members who stand up and speak out for the freedom to read.
The Read Out schedule for Sept. 25 is as follows:
For more information on The Read Out and Banned Books Week, contact Dawn Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or 601.266.4120.