Banned Book Reading

College Library & ACLU of Wisconsin Kick Off “Banned Books Week” with Public Reading

On Thursday, September 27, 2007, the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s College Library and the ACLU of Wisconsin kicked off Banned Books Week with a public reading of banned books. Celebrated individuals from UW-Madison and the Madison community read brief selections from books on the American Library Association’s list of most frequently challenged books. They also provided insights into why these titles were so important to them personally. Appropriately, the readings were held in the Open Book Café of College Library with over 100 students, faculty and staff, and community members in attendance.

The planning committee assembled a diverse group of readers, representing many ages and backgrounds. Jim Fleming, host of “Chapter a Day” for Wisconsin Public Radio; Lorrie Moore, UW-Madison English professor and author; and Ada Deer, Native American advocate and professor of American Indian Studies, were among the group of distinguished readers. The event was emceed by John Nichols, contributing writer for The Progressive and the associate editor of The Capital Times, one of Madison’s daily newspapers.

Promotional displays and posters for Banned Books Week were featured on every floor of College Library. The library’s informational LCD screen near the reference desk exhibited cover art from challenged books, one poster reminded patrons how vandalism effectively “bans” a book, and new copies of banned and challenged books were made available for check out throughout the library. These displays piqued the interest of library users. College Library staff members were frequently fielding reference questions concerning Banned Books Week, particularly how and why certain titles have been challenged.

The public reading of banned books was generously sponsored by more than three dozen organizations and individuals.

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