It’s Banned Books Week!
Every year the Banned Books Week Coalition, an international alliance of diverse organizations that includes the American Library Association, celebrates the freedom to read in September, the traditional start of the school year. Formed all the way back in 1982 when there was a surge in the number of challenges to materials in schools and libraries, we’re seeing numbers today that far outpace those of 40 years ago. Check out more at https://bannedbooksweek.org/.
This Fall semester, students in my EDUC 346 Don’t Teach This!: Censorship and the Curriculum course are diving deep into the history of book challenges, censorship, public schools and public libraries as we consider the contemporary landscape where there’s some new challenge to think about – often not that geographically far away from Ursinus or their hometowns! – almost every day. Students are currently reading Herbert N. Foerstel’s Banned in the U.S.A and Emily Knox’s Book Banning in 21st-Centuy America (both are available as e-books from OneSearch on our Library homepage!) and interacting with each other and guest speakers. We’re considering the question: if everything is available on the internet, why does this still matter as much as it does? Later on in the semester, students will be presenting on a book of their choice that’s been banned or challenged somewhere at some time in America. For better or for worse, it’s a long list to choose from. They’ll also be writing a research paper on a topic of their choice related to issues of censorship.
As ever, we in the library encourage you all to read widely and read a lot! Don’t hesitate to let us know if there’s something you’d like to see in our collection.
Librarian of the College