Monday, September 28, 2009

UA Marks Banned Books Week

You might be surprised by some of the titles that have ended up banned book lists or come close. They include "The Color Purple" by Alice Walker, Dan Brown's "The Da Vinci Code" and the "Harry Potter" series by J.K. Rowling.

In honor of the freedom to read, the University of Arizona is joining other institutions and organizations across the nation to host events during Banned Books Week, which begins Saturday.

The celebration, which runs through Oct. 3, will include an exhibition at the University of Arizona Libraries, film screenings and a "read out."

Banned Books Week, an annual event, was created to honor reading as well as the nation's First Amendment, according to the American Library Association.

The event "highlights the benefits of free and open access to information while drawing attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted bannings of books across the United States," the association also noted.

"Intellectual freedom – the freedom to access information and express ideas, even if the information and ideas might be considered unorthodox or unpopular – provides the foundation for Banned Books Week."

Nationally, the association co-sponsors the week along with a number of others, including the American Society of Journalists and Authors and the National Association of College Stores. The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress endorses the event.

At the UA, the UA Libraries and the student-led Progressive Librarians Guild within in the School of Information Resources and Library Science have put together an exhibitition of banned and challeneged books and articles. The exhibit opened today and is located at the UA's Main Library.

Other events, all of which are free and open to the public, include a film festival, which will be held Monday, 7-9 p.m., at the Gallagher Theater, located in the Student Union Memorial Center.

The event will including a screenings of "Quills," a feature-length portrayal of a battle between the Marquis de Sade and French authorities who were attempting to censor his writings. The event also also include a tribute to banned books and a screening of the 1910 silent version of "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz."

On Wednesday, an event at the Main Library will feature a screening of "Writers and Censorship," a short film with authors Salman Rushdie and Taslima Nasrin discussing censorship in modern times. The two-hour event begins at 6 p.m.

The event also includes a panel dicussion, during which panelists will talk about their favorite challenged materials, while also discussing the importance of access to a diverse range of ideas in a democratic society.

The panelists are Dan Lee, the UA's director of copyright and scholarly communications; Kimberly Chapman, an assistant librarian; David Robsinson, a UA associate professor of English; and two local Holocaust survivors, Irving Senor and Selena Neuhauser."

The event will also include a "read out." Community members are invited to read challenged books. Passages will be offered during the event, but people can also bring their own.

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