CSU Libraries To Stage 'Banned Books Read Out' Tuesday and Thursday

About 20 Columbus State University faculty members will convene at the Schwob Library on Tuesday and Thursday to read passages from literary classics such as 'The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn' and 'To Kill A Mockingbird.' However, the occasion is not to celebrate classic literature. It's an event to raise awareness regarding censorship.

In observance of the American Library Association's (ALA) Banned Books Week, CSU Libraries will stage a 'Banned Books Read Out,' from 12:30-1:30 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday (9/28 and 9/30) in front of the Schwob Library. The programs are free and open to the public.

Participating faculty members will read passages from books they have selected that have been heavily targeted for censorship. The ALA has promoted 'Banned Books Week' since 1982. The majority of the books featured during the week are not actually banned, but merely challenged. Thanks to the efforts of librarians, the books remain in their collections, said Callie McGinnis, dean of CSU Libraries.

'We took the titles in our circulation from the ALA's 'Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990-1999' and distributed the list to the faculty with an invitation for them to select for the reading,' said McGinnis.

The ALA compiles its lists from documented 'challenges' - typically concerning youth-geared books - by parents or patrons requesting removal of the books because of 'objectionable' content from K-12 schools and public libraries.

Though university libraries are not subject to such attention, McGinnis said 'such an event is ideal on a college campus, which essentially is a forum for the free exchange ideas.'

McGinnis said the event is a first of its kind for CSU. However, several years earlier, faculty members staged a reading of passages from Salman Rushdie's 'Satanic Verses' as a censorship awareness event in response to the fatwa or death sentence on the author infamously decreed in 1989 by Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini.

The origins for the current event go back about four years, McGinnis said. 'When we were revising the library mission statement, one of our resolutions was that we should operate as the intellectual hub of campus, and this 'read out' is another extension of our revised mission We can't just be a big building of books.'

In conjunction with Banned Books Week, a Schwob Library 'Banned Books' display features frequently-challenged book copies, in addition to the titles featured in the Tuesday and Thursday programs. One of the display books is Maurice Sendak's children's story 'In The Night Kitchen.' 'It was one of my daughter's favorite books,' McGinnis said, adding, 'It's notable that this book drew so much objection, based on a cartoon illustration of a naked little child.'

Scheduled Readings

Tuesday (9/28):
* 'Areopagitica' (a poem about censorship) - Patrick McHenry (language and literature)

* 'Flowers for Algernon' - Martha Saunders (vice president for academic affairs)

* 'Ulysses' Dan Ross (language and literature)

* 'Light in the Attic' - Warren Church (archaeology )

* 'To Kill a Mockingbird' - Bill Chappell (College of Arts & Letters dean)

* 'Lolita' - Mike Kocian (student)

* 'Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone' & 'Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets' - Brian Schwartz (biology)

* 'House of the Spirits' - Erika Adams (art)

* 'James and the Giant Peach' - Kristen Hansen (music)

* 'Athletic Shorts' - Jim Brewbaker (education)


Thursday (9/30):

* 'Slaughterhouse Five' - Joe Francavilla (language and literature)

* 'The Witches' - Karen Stothert (archaeology/visiting professor)

* 'Light in the Attic' - Martha Ragan (library, part-time)

* 'Beloved' Noreen Lape, (language and literature)

* 'Adventures of Huckleberry Finn' - John Studstill (anthropology)

* 'Song of Solomon' - Michelle Jones (library)

* ' James and the Giant Peach' - Nora Stevens (biology)

* 'The Hobbit' - Sandra Coffey (language and literature)

* 'Handmaid's Tale' - Alice Pate (history)

* 'Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire' - Lisa Frander (nursing)


The ALA further defines the 'Banned Book' concept on its Web site www.ala.org/bbooks

For more information on the Banned Books Read Out at CSU, call 568-2042.


Contact: Erma Banks, 565-3684; banks_erma@ColumbusState.edu